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The optimist, The Pessimist, and the Role of Peers

by Derik Mitalik

posted in Reference and Education : Psychology

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Persons with peers to whom they can relate to focus on developing their current set of personality traits. People without peers tend to "branch out", developing new spins on pre-existing traits. The availability of peers has an impact on whether a person is optimistic or pessimistic. People with peers sharing their set of personality traits and a common value system tend to believe that their personality is in the majority. This increases the probability that they will project their own traits on others, also increasing the likelihood that they will misunderstand or disregard entirely the perspective of dissimilar individuals.


Therefore an optimistic person who surrounds themselves with other similarly optimistic people will have their mindset reinforced. While an optimistic person surrounded by people who become pessimistic will also eventually become a pessimist. This will occur either because the individual will isolate themselves from people who are "growing apart" from them or because they share a similar enough lifestyle that the factors contributing to their peers' pessimism will also influence them.


While a pessimist without peers is likely to believe that those around them are optimists because they do not share the same perspective. They will either seek out peers that are equally pessimistic to spare them the effort of altering their entire perspective on life. Or eventually become optimistic through the eventual influence of the optimistically inclined around them.


Simply put; a person with a positive outlook on life will remain so as long as others around them maintain a positive perspective. A pessimistic person will remain pessimistic as long as their peers maintain a negative perspective. When a person with an opposing perspective confronts them they will tend to shy away from conversation maintaining a rigid "this is me and that is you, and nothing will change" outlook. A person who confronts an opposing perspective is bound to think "how can you be this when there is so much that" perspective.


What both perspectives hold in common is that the use external forces to reinforce their perspective when engaged by and opposing personality. Just as their external peers help them maintain their perspective by constantly focusing on the aspects of life that reinforce their own personalities, those same external forces are used to either convince opposing personalities or to defend against their influence.


Projection comes into the picture as a major force in this exchange of perspectives; when your perspective is reinforced you focus on defending that perspective. Conversely, when your perspective is "out there" you will seek to find others who share it, or try to bring others around to understanding your view point.


Thus a pessimist will remain a pessimist so long as their peers are as well. An optimist will remain an optimist as long as their peers remain so as well. If either party believes themselves to be the majority, or the "superior" minority, they will view themselves as normal and avoid developing their views of the world because they "work". The optimist surrounded by pessimists will either become pessimistic overtime through the influences of others, whether direct or indirect, or become a pessimist through isolation. A pessimist will do the same.


Although the incidence of projection will logically decline as your peers are more and more incongruent in relation to you. When you feel as though your perspective is the majority you will attribute other personality traits of yours upon your peers, or simply assume that because your peers share a similar perspective them are "half-full" of your traits. While being among peers of different perspectives will lead you to assume that they are "half-empty" of your traits. This is a projection cut-off, with projection leading to a feeling of collectivity with other peers, while its lack will lead to a barrier. This is the difference between feeling as though you are a superior minority or an average majority.

About the Author:

Writing has always been a passion and hobby of mine, my studies have always benefited from the reinforcement of being "written-out" and eventualy the subjects of my study became those that made more interesting writing.

i study psychology, sociology, pharmacology, and the english language.

I have been writing for the last 4 years to practice forming coherent and liner ideas, and i have an archive of journals filed with practice material on a large variety subjects dealing with personal research, observations, attempts, and journal entries in which i'am the subject of my own life...

Recently i have had some experience with my college newspaper, this has driven me to practice via a larger canvas (i.e. the internet), i sincerely hope that if you read my articles you will be compensated for your time. Please share constructive input...

Once i break into this site a bit more, i shall update my extended bio with more indepth information about my life and what experience have made my mind a unique word factory of numerous subjects and observations.

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