Friday, January 12, 2007

The optimism conundrum.

Is it possible to have low expectations but still remain generally optimistic? That seems to be the combined message of two recent NY Times articles. The first reports a study finding that optimists outlive pessimists. In other words, a good attitude leads to a longer life. The second article reports study findings that people in Denmark consistently rate more highly on measures of life satisfaction than folks in other nations. The explanation that researchers are giving for this: Danes maintain low expectations for life, and so are pleasantly surprised when things go well. So, we'll add both optimism, and low expectations to the list of longevity-producing agents reported in Irk, though how you're going to integrate these two new ones without some major congnitive inconsistency, we're not sure.

On that note, the current list of magical agents that will lead to a long and prosperous life looks something like this: education, money, social connection, and the optimum combination of beer and coffee. Go forth and prosper!


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