Optimism & Pessimism

I am watching this anime called One Piece to bond with my kids. They love the manga, but I am watching the anime. (Over a thousand episodes!) I won’t do a full review, but there is this one character who really annoys me. Usopp.

Most of the pirate crew are amazingly powerful characters, but Usopp is not. He is clever and has some skills, but he in the same class as the others. However, the others on his team love him and treat him as one of their own. They all are having a crazy adventure together.

Unfortunately, at every single turn, Usopp is terrified of dying. He assumes every single thing that happens is going to lead to doom for them all. He is incredibly pessimistic every change he gets.

Time perspective

Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.

Alice Morse Earle (1851–1911)

There is nothing wrong with planning the future or with analyzing the past. If we don’t we are doomed to repeat our mistakes and fail to invest in long term success. However, none of us can predict the future, nor can we know every detail of the past.

If you’re depressed, you are living in the past.
If you’re anxious, you are living in the future.
If you’re at peace, you are living in the present.

Lao Tzu (4000 BC)

However, people often feel anxiety for something that hasn’t happened yet or potentially will never happened.

Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe.

Mark Twain (1835-1910)

The reality is that if something turns out badly, you will suffer when it happens. Why bother suffering in advance? Then you suffer twice.

Again, it’s important to analyze the past and make predictions of the future. How else can we plan and make decisions? With that said, analyzing the past and future don’t require anxiety to do it well.

Learn Fast

I hate the expression “Fail Fast”. Why would I want to do that? I don’t want to fail at all! Why can’t the expression be “Learn fast”? It’s the exact same strategy of planning and software development. You do spikes and try things and then learn from the experience.

I don’t believe you will learn fast by assuming everything will fail. How will you learn what works? How will you develop an amazing idea if you assume the idea is stupid right from the get go.


When recruiting, promoting, and choosing who to work with, I do pay attention to how people process the moment. When faced with adversity, are they anxious or focused? Do they assume the worst or lean into the possible goodness?

Every situation can lead to something better. Every situation is an opportunity to try hard and make good decisions. The main point here is: Don’t be like Usopp. Think about all of your choices and use good judgement. It won’t always lead to the best outcomes, but it probably won’t lead to the worst ones either.

By the way, every time Usopp stops being negative, he really helps the crew. He should believe in himself more. Maybe you should too!


Whatya think?