Set the bar low. Adjust your standards. Keep expectations to a minimum.

I’m sure you are familiar with the phrase “reach for the stars, there are footprints on the moon”, but I question whether this is the healthiest mentality for people to follow.

Picture yourself; you're ready to receive some results (whether it be an essay back, a work report, or medical notes). Your hopes are high, your spirits even higher but then.. You're faced with a bad mark. A low percentage, a disappointing level, an inadequate result later, and you're suddenly wishing you hadn’t tried at all in the first place - you adopt the mentality that what you’re doing isn't good enough.

Aiming high is seemingly valid, until you don't meet the expectation, the standard, the bar that you’ve set for yourself. If you lower your hopes for the future, then you eliminate the possibility of a negative outcome. If you perform poorly, you meet your expectations - you put your chin up and try harder next time. If you perform well, you exceed all you could’ve hoped for, and your body is flooded with dopamine - the surprise making the result sweeter.

When thinking of pessimism, I consider how I’ve never excelled with public speaking. I stammer, I don’t make enough eye contact, and I check my notes far too often for any confidence to be perceived.

But I recognise this I do not place myself on tier higher than I am, and then feel crushed when I inevitably find myself stumbling over words and turning bright pink. I simply aim to deliver the speech, and not burst into tears. And if I don't, that’s brilliant. If I manage to earn a clap at the end? Amazing. And if I feel any semblance of enjoyance from myself or the audience, then I am over the moon.

Bare in mind, by doing this one does not self themselves up for failure by expecting less; it fuels the need to work harder when you presume that things will go poorly. Pessimism in not synonymous with underachieving - it means accepting failure, and rejoicing in success.

Now that you’ve read this, I do not expect you to heed my advice - you are welcome to close your tab with a scoff, and wonder why negativity seems to fuel modern day articles. But I urge you to pay attention, to consider what I preach; as a pessimist, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.