Defensive Pessimism

I often describe myself as an optimistic pessimist; I guess it’s really defensive pessimism at work.

But still, I like the ring of optimistic pessimist better.  When you plan for the worst, things will almost never go that badly—there’s no shortage of potential upside.  What better source for optimism?  And if things do go south at least you’re well prepared—and that’s very good news, too.

 

Pammel Park Backbone Trail, Madison County, IA

Pammel Park is roughly five miles SW of Winterset in Madison County, Iowa. I’ve been intending to walk some of the county’s trails (learn more about what the county has to offer at http://www.madisoncountyparks.org) for a few years now and, with a few days away from the office decided to give it a start. A map of the trail is available at http://www.madisoncountyparks.org/images/stories/TrailMaps/PPark.jpg.

Arguably there’s not a lot of action here, but that’s kind of the point—the trail was quiet save a few birds, squirrels, and deer I happened upon. It was great to get out from behind the desk and out in to the natural world.

The path isn’t very kid-friendly (part of my park/trail exploration is to find fun places around the county to take my three boys) with a few steep ascents and drop offs. Not a problem for an aware adult, but I don’t know that I’d trust my toddlers to safely traverse!

Money, Happiness and the New Science of Smarter Spending | New Republic

Experiences can have a much bigger impact on people’s happiness than things, and a big part of that happiness lies in looking forward to the experience that you are going to have.

via Money, Happiness and the New Science of Smarter Spending | New Republic.

How Turning the Food Pyramid on Its Head Can Help You Slim Down

Some of you may be old enough to recall the 1992 Food Pyramid, which had grains as the largest bottom block of the pyramid, encouraging you to eat 6-11 servings of bread, cereal, rice and pasta each day. This excess of carbohydrates, most of them refined, is precisely the opposite of what most people need to stay healthy. At the very top of the pyramid was fats and sugar, and while sugar clearly belongs there, healthy fats do not. In fact, most people would benefit from getting anywhere from 50 to 70 percent of their total calories from healthy fats!

via How Turning the Food Pyramid on Its Head Can Help You Slim Down.

Caffeine withdrawal now classified as a mental disorder | Death and Taxes

This almost makes me want to draw a line in the sand.

The American Psychiatric Association recently released an updated version of its manual of mental disorders (DSM-5) and this time it includes a new addition: Caffeine withdrawal.

It’s mighty easy to get addicted to coffee—it’s even encouraged, provided for free in workplaces. But many of us have found ourselves in the classic addict’s conundrum: After a while it stops getting you up—you just feel down without it. So you decide to kick it and switch to peppermint tea for a week. All hell breaks loose—you’re dazed, racked with a throbbing headache and tired as hell. So you think, just one cup. Next thing you know you’re putting off quitting until next week.

via Caffeine withdrawal now classified as a mental disorder | Death and Taxes.

Explore – Workaholics are driven by fear, and I have not…

Workaholics are driven by fear, and I have not found myself in a position where I need to spend six or eight more hours at work because I’m trying to make everything okay.

[…]

If you’re in this frame of mind and need control, being a workaholic is a socially acceptable way to try to achieve that. Your boss thinks it’s great, and you can get a raise for doing it. In the short run, it works really well because you can — at some level — control what you’re doing and keep pushing the ball forward. You get into trouble when you get better at your work, and there’s an increase in the number of people who want to interact with you and have you do more. So this kind of working method doesn’t scale— you end up exploding.

via Explore – Workaholics are driven by fear, and I have not….