Are optimists anxious?

Anxiety. We all have it. Some more than others.

I just read a blog post from Seth Godin that describes anxiety as “experiencing failure in advance.”

If I’m anxious about failing a project, I’m experiencing my own failure when it may not even occur.

It’s really, really hard to be an optimist when I have anxiety. In fact, I would say those two things are opposites. Optimists may experience success in advance.

Optimists may plan for a celebration party halfway through a project.

Sometimes it’s difficult to think like that. Visualizing success and project completion can actually snap me back to the reality that I’m not where I should be or that I have a long way to go. Then I’m overwhelmed by what isn’t completed yet.

But if I am anxious about failure, it’s easy to stop trying, give up even; and then, when failure happens, that anxiety is justified. I think, “I knew all along I was going to fail.”

Seth Godin suggests writing fake testimonials and fan mail for myself. Imagine my work actually changing someone’s life. It seems like it’d be a good way to help me stay on track and to stay focused on making something great. Hell, it might even turn me into an optimist.

I think I’m going to go write some fan mail now.

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