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A distinction between public and private optimism

Tali Sharot in The Science Of Looking On The Bright Side

There is a great distinction between public and private optimism. We’ve been talking about private optimism. But at the same time, we have public despair. So while people are optimistic about their own life, and their health, and their marriage, we find that people do not actually exhibit optimism about public affairs. They're not optimistic about their country, the future of their leaders or even global warming.

So why are we so optimistic about our own lives but not optimistic about these global affairs? One answer is that we tend to believe we have control over our own life and can steer the wheel in the right direction. But we don't feel we have control over these big political issues.


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