Friday, June 24, 2016

Optimism vs. Pessimism

You guys know I'm a bit of a nerd ☺

I read R.A. Salvatore. That’s code for books about dungeons and dragons. Yeah, I said it. I may or may not have played some D&D back in the day (or last year).

Recently, my relational trauma group talked about Optimism vs. Pessimism and it made me think of one of my favorite sayings by one of my favorite characters, Montolio.

Montolio Debrouchee aka Mooshie (Ranger)

He said, “Those who aspire to less accomplish less. There can be no doubt. It is better, I think, to grab at the stars than to sit flustered because you know you cannot reach them. At least he who reaches will get a good stretch, a good view, and perhaps even a low hanging apple for his efforts.” 

Now that’s optimism! Woot! Woot!

Drittz (another favorite character of mine who happened to be in an emotionally bad place at the time) replied, “And perhaps also a low flying arrow fired by some unseen assailant.” 

Hello pessimism!

Worry not. Under Montolio’s tutelage and mentorship, Drizzt became an eternal optimist. Eventually. After much inner reflection.

I included the passage in case you wanted to read it. Salvatore has a knack for capturing both sides of the coin and for allowing the reader to feel Drizzt's turmoil right along with him.

For context, Guenhwyvar is a black panther and Montolio is blind.

Credit to: R.A. Salvatore, "Sojourn."

Starting from the left: Wulfgar, Drizzt, Bruenor Battlehammer (my true favorite character)


One night, beneath the moon’s silvery light, Drizzt and Montolio rested back in wooden chairs that the ranger had constructed high in the boughs of a large evergreen. The brightness of the waning moon, as it dipped and dodged behind fast moving, scattered clouds, enchanted the drow. 

Montolio couldn’t see the moon, of course, but the old ranger, with Guenhwyvar comfortably draped across his lap, enjoyed the brisk night no less. He rubbed a hand absently through the thick fur on Guenhwyvar’s muscled neck and listened to the many sound’s carried on the breeze, the chatter of a thousand creatures that the drow never even noticed, even though Drizzt’s hearing was superior to Montolio’s. Montolio chuckled every now and again, once when he heard a field mouse squealing angrily at an owl Hooter probably for interrupting its meal and forcing it to flee into its hole. 

Looking at the ranger and Guenhwyvar, so at ease and accepting of one another, Drizzt felt the pangs of friendship and guilt “Perhaps I should never have come,” he whispered, turning his gaze back to the moon. 

“Why?” Montolio asked quietly. “You do not like my food?” His smile disarmed Drizzt as the drow turned back to him somberly. 

“To the surface, I mean,” Drizzt explained, managing a laugh in spite of his melancholy. “Sometimes I think my choice a selfish act.” 

“Survival usually is,” Montolio replied. “I have felt that way myself on some occasions. I was once forced to drive my sword into a man’s heart. The harshness of the world brings great remorse, but mercifully it is a passing lament and certainly not one to carry into battle.” 

“How I wish it would pass,” Drizzt remarked, more to himself or to the moon than to Montolio. 

But the remark hit Montolio squarely. The closer he and Drizzt had become, the more the ranger shared Drizzt’s unknown burden. The drow was young by elf standards but 
was already world wise and skilled in battle beyond most professional soldiers. Undeniably one of 
Drizzt’s dark heritage would find barriers in an unaccepting surface world. By Montolio’s estimation, though, Drizzt should be able to get through these prejudices and live a long and prosperous life, given his considerable talents. What was it, Montolio wondered, that so burdens this elf? Drizzt suffered more than he smiled and punished himself more than he should. 

“Is yours an honest lament?” Montolio asked him. “Most are not, you know. Most self imposed burdens are founded on misperceptions. We at least we of sincere character always judge ourselves by stricter standards than we expect others to abide by. It is a curse, I suppose, or a blessing, depending on how one views it” He cast his sightless gaze Drizzt’s way. “Take it as a blessing, my friend, an inner calling that forces you to strive to unattainable heights.” 

“A frustrating blessing,” Drizzt replied casually. 

“Only when you do not pause to consider the advances that the striving has brought to you,” Montolio was quick to reply, as though he had expected the drow’s words. “Those who aspire to less accomplish less. There can be no doubt. It is better, I think, to grab at the stars than to sit flustered because you know you cannot reach them.” He shot Drizzt his typical wry smile. “At least he who reaches will get a good stretch, a good view, and perhaps even a low hanging apple for his effort!” 

“And perhaps also a low flying arrow fired by some unseen assailant” Drizzt remarked sourly. 


So, who are you? The optimist or the pessimist?

Have you read any of the Dark Elf books?


Note: There will be no post next Friday because I'll be back for the fun of the Insecure Writer's Support Group on July 6...see you then and have a Happy and Safe Fourth of July! Don't be this guy:

Jason Pierre Paul: blew up his hand with fireworks

35 comments:

  1. Yeah, blowing up your hand is dumb.
    I've read many of the Forgotten Realms books, and yes, played that module of D&D as well. I'll geek out with you.
    I think I'm in the middle. It depends on the situation.
    See you for IWSG day!

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    1. Agreed, Alex. Dumb move by JPP. At least he came back strongish. Yay! Another geek and Forgotten Realms fan. I'd love to know who your absolute favorite character is. When I play D&D, I'm Bruenor. I mean, I'm a dwarf. Whatever. *ahem*

      I'm looking forward to being back in the swing of IWSG. It's been too long!

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  2. I'm always the optimist. The glass isn't just full, it's overflowing.

    I used to play D&D. My character was a warrior named Taarna. (Yes, the woman warrior from the movie Heavy Metal.)

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    1. I'm the same way, Diane. I try to find the silver lining no matter how small.

      I'm really digging finding out you're a D&D fan too. We used to play with the kids when they were younger. Even got a Drizzt box set not too long ago and had a blast playing again. All this gaming talk makes me want to have another gaming night soon!

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  3. I'm totally Drittz by nature, but I'm working really hard to be more like Montolio. I've actually made good progress but sometimes Drittz still jumps in. :D

    Enjoy the 4th, Elsie!!

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    1. As long as you're working on being an optimist, that's the important thing. I worked with a person who could never see the bright side of things no matter what. Everything was doom and gloom. It was draining to be around. I'm glad you're making progress!! Happy 4th!

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  4. There are times when I am positive that things are negative! Yes, no blowing up the hand with fireworks on the 4th!

    I used a quote from Marcus Aurelius to start a chapter in the Steampunk I am writing:

    “When you have made a mistake, think not: ‘This is misfortune’ think rather: ‘To bear this worthily is good fortune.’”

    Thanks for visiting my blog today. :-)

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    1. haha, Roland, that's a positively negative way to think *smiles*

      Yeah, JPP wasn't very wise last year. What a goober, but he made a come back sooner than everyone thought he would so there's that <--- see, optimism!

      I love your quote. Always a way to take the negative and turn it your way!

      Glad to see you again.

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  5. Sigh...that's a hard one!! I like to think I'm an optimist and I firmly believe I am most of the time. Unfortunately, when it comes to possible rejection I always lean towards pessimistic.

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    1. Ah, you make a great point, Jaclyn. I do lean towards negativity when comes to rejection or at least bad reviews on my book. I can't seem to help that fear from creeping up inside my brain!

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  6. Hmph, post didn't show in blogroll. And her the cat thought old one eye had gone on a break again lol

    I'm positive, positive that something will be negative when I know it will be negative. Wouldn't that leave me in the middle? Or would that be a riddle?

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    1. That makes me feel better because I haven't had much turn out over here...I felt rejected by all! Blasted Blogger. I'm taking back my dues. All zero dollars. One eye takes many breaks, and feels old everyday of the week, but guess what, I'm still around this time. For now, at least. Wait. Did I just call myself old and one eye? Dammit, cat! Your riddle confused me. Or was it the old age setting in?

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    2. Just showed up in blogroll now.

      haha got you all confused in your old age. But as long as around you can stay, let the old one eye be on display.

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    3. Figures. I'm not around to see it be on display..oh well..as long as you were there for it!

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  7. I never got into "Dungeons and Dragons" because there's no board. How can you play a game with no board? Oh...imagination. Huh. I think I'd rather imagine drinking a beer. Better yet, I think I'll drink a beer for real.

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    1. Ah, my friend, that's where you're wrong. There is a board: of tiles! And you do drink while playing D&D, it's what makes the game that much more fun. Imagine pretending to be a dwarf or an elf or a barbarian! The fun never ends. But fine, you drink your beer and not be nerd. Whatever! haha

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  8. I definitely lead toward optimistic...it makes a huge difference in life, in my humble opinion.

    Wishing you a great weekend :)

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    1. I'm not surprised, Keith, it's in your name *smiles* I think it makes a big difference too. I believe my healing was helped by my optimistic attitude.

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  9. I have not so I enjoyed the conversation Elsie. I am an optimist, by choice and choice. Have to, or else will get very depressed.

    Enjoy your summer weekend.

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    1. I love how he portrayed each side of the coin. I prefer to see the brighter side of things so I don't get stuck in the negative. Hope your week is a good one, Grace.

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  10. I tend towards optimism but always try to be realistic. That's not the same as pessimistic.

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    1. I agree. I don't live in a fog of sunshine and rainbows but lean towards optimism rather than see the negative side of things.

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  11. I head more towards those pessimistic cliffs!

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    1. As long as you don't fall off those cliffs, Fran!

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  12. Huh. Your post didn't show up in my feed until this morning. Weird.

    The problem with "being an optimist" is that optimism is actually worse for people overall. "Optimists," with their "everything will work out" stance most frequently take no steps to bring about the results they want. Pessimism doesn't necessarily lead to giving up; it can also be a cause to fight. In other words, "Plan for the worst; hope for the...," well, hope for something good.

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    1. That's what, Pat said. I wonder why. Maybe because I was being too optimistic and Blogger couldn't handle it?

      I disagree with you. I am optimistic but I don't sit on laurels hoping and praying things will just work out if I wait for them too. I believe you have to make change in order for change to happen. I also think that while you surrounded by muck, you should be able to see there is a lesson that can be learned while you're seeing your way through it. Maybe that's the optimist in me?

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    2. I wasn't offering an opinion; I was relating the results of numerous studies. For example, one study in particular dealt with women with breast cancer. Breast cancer is one of the most "positive attitude" cancers out there. The study showed that the most optimistic and positive of the women were the ones most likely NOT to survive treatment or who would have more complications, etc. Women who were more pessimistic took more steps and more action and were, thus, more likely to survive.

      So, yeah, not an opinion, just stating the actual data. The facts, as it were.

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  13. Definately the second guy, and here's why: If I bring up the worst that can happen, it is exposed and prolly will decide not to occur. Go down the list until one finds the disaster he's comfortable with. Head in the right place, facing the other direction, I'd guess you'd say...

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    1. Almost like if you bring it to light, then it could possibly occur? I understand that to some extent. Although you know that's not how it works at all. If it's in the plans well, then it's in the plans. That's just how God works.

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  14. I'm so conditioned to be 'glass half empty'. Every time things are going great, the other shoe drops.

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    1. I used to be that way with Devin's addiction. If things were going good, I'd think, "Okay, when is it going to be bad again?" I had to stop that line of thinking because it was exhausting.

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  15. I try to be the optimist but some days it is easier said then done, but I succeed more then not.

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    1. I think sometimes it's a conscious effort.

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  16. The way I see it... Those who aspire to less accomplish more because their aims are so low.If your aim is to have breakfast, you will accomplish a lot. If your aim is to go to Bora Bora, you may be in for some disappointment.

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  17. I'm inherently a pessimist, but I always force myself to be an optimist. I have to be. I can't float through life always expecting the worst.

    And hey, what do you know, I played D&D too. I was a paladin named Malahyde. Swords and divine magic. Awww yith. It was both fun and difficult having to maintain such a painfully honest and righteous character.

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. I'm here to help any way I can.