Lockdown Day 65 – 30 May 2020 – Expectations

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Mozart – Violin Concertos Nos.3,4,5,1,2 & Rondo + Presentation

This morning I read this article on Facebook. It is not long, easy to read and gives good insight. If you follow my posts, I am sure you will like this beautifully written piece.

Revisiting the Stockdale Syndrome in a Covid-19 world.

When I took my Hilux for its weekly exercise, I started thinking about this paragraph in the article

When asked who did not make it through the time of imprisonment, Stockdale replied the “optimists” and explained it like this:

“The optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, ‘We’re going to be out by Christmas.’ And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they’d say, ‘We’re going to be out by Easter.’ And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart.”

There is often a saying about seeing the glass as half full or half empty. Yesterday, when I bought olive oil on tap, my wife warned me, as I was filling the bottle, the bottle is half full. She is an optimist? When I looked at the tank from which I was pouring, I said it is half empty, as I see the level dropping. I am a pessimist? Although I mean this as a joke, there is a suggestion here that it is not always so easy to classify optimists or pessimists.

Balance = Realism?

In most cases it is best to have a balance. Somewhere between pessimism and optimism is realism?

That is when my thoughts jumped to a conversation I had months ago, but still have no clear answer to.

The conversation was about expectations. I think many of our problems arise from expectations. The other person said we should not have any expectations, then we will never be disappointed. To me that feels very cynical.

I cannot expect my Hilux to perform like a Mercedes C220. Neither can I expect a Mercedes C220 to drive and perform like my Hilux. But I can expect my Hilux to drive well and perform off road. That is why I have it. That is a fair expectation from my Hilux 4×4. A realistic expectation.

Once again realism comes into the equation.

Since we are in lockdown, I will apply my thoughts about this to lockdown:

The optimist believes the infections are nothing and we will breeze through it like nothing. We will be a model to the world. This becomes his expectation. Is it realistic?

The pessimist believes that 70% of the population will die and it becomes his expectation. Is this realistic?

Does this mean it is preferable to be a pessimist? Will the pessimist be better off, because the chances of being disappointed are less. One could then deduct that it is better to be pessimistic, because you are not so easily disappointed. The expect nothing argument, then.

Not true, me thinks. Firstly, because I think pessimism can become a self-fulfilling prophesy. Secondly, such pessimism could have equally damaging results, albeit different, as the optimist.

Once more we must search for balance – the secret to a happy life. Realism. People will get sick. It was an emotional journey to this point. We will have an emotional journey ahead. We have a long way to go. We cannot undo the benefit of the lockdown by being irresponsible – you keep me safe; I keep you safe.

People will die because of the virus. Optimism or pessimism could increase the number of deaths many times.

That is why I believe we must be careful, rational, and responsible in our decisions and actions. Individually and collectively.


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