light where there is none

“An optimist may see a light where there is none, but why must the pessimist always run to blow it out?”

– René Descartes, French philosopher and mathematician (attrib.)


Image from Flickr by spcbrass

One of my favorite books that supports effective interpersonal and group communications is Six Thinking Hats, by Edward de Bono.

In his model, a “yellow hat” represents the optimistic individual who sees the light of possibility in things. The pessimist or “black hat” represents the negative perception on matters that often stops progress.

Of course there are four more hats to explore in our journey to more effective individual and group thinking, and I encourage you to pursue these as part of the following exercise.


What percentage of the time do you wear the yellow and black hats in your professional and personal interactions?

How can you increase your emphasis on the sunny side of things and diminish or remove that dark cloud that extinguishes the light of possibility?

You can find a one-page pdf summary about the six hats here, and you may wish to explore “putting on” one or more of the others:

The war between optimists and pessimists

 “The optimist already sees the scar over the wound; the pessimist sees the wound underneath the scar.”

– Ernst Schroder, mathematician

The war between optimists and pessimists has raged since the beginning of time. Which camp are you in? For the purpose of this post, please don’t take the back door and choose “realist” – though I do appreciate you thinking outside the box!

It turns out that both strategies come in pretty handy, depending on the situation. Optimists tend to have a promotion focus on growth and advancement. Pessimists, on other hand, tend to be more focused on security and safety. Schroeder was probably an optimist, given the fact that a scar is a protective and healing phenomenon supporting new growth.


Where are you engaged in the rapid healing and growth from wounds you may recently have experienced?

Where are you still feeling the wounds of the past that should have fully healed by now?