Dale Williams
Dale Williams

The case for optimism

Even if I’m completely wrong.

If there had been two ways that something could work out and I have chosen the incorrect one.

If I had been smoking my socks and there is no validity in what I thought would happen.

If it is now entirely clear that I have been unrealistic and out of touch with the reality of how things work.

I believed something better would happen than it did. My judgment failed me and left me choosing a fantasy rather than seeing the harsh reality of the situation.

When my optimistic view on the issue, which I have held on to, is proven out of touch with what has happened. When my optimistic view has been held up for all its faults.

When, on that day, I am devastated by the consequences of choosing the wrong option and have left dealing with how to cope with a scenario I had not anticipated.

On that day, the day that I am wrong, I will say, “You were right, I was wrong”.

Between today and then, however, I will have been happier, slept better, held more hope and had more fun, than the pessimist.

  • Craig

    Very true and the case for optimism is strong in my opinion.

    Of course you could always argue that pessimism is an evolutionary response:

    “On that day, the day that I am wrong, I will say, “You were right, I was wrong” – but at least I would still be alive had I been right”.

  • http://www.obama.com Phillipa Lipinsky

    Dale you are so inspiring. If you were to run for office, I’d not only vote for you but I would campaign for you. Give me a shout when you consider a career in politics. You are Africa’s answer to Obama, I dare say.

  • Kit

    It doesn’t matter whether you’re right or wrong. Life’s like a big tree. You make a wrong choice, so what, there were fifty other choices you could have made around the same time, each leading you off to a different twig. Some twigs break and you crash down, some twigs – oy! – have really good-looking naartjies at the end.

    What does matter though is telling people that what you believe is today’s right choice for you is the right choice for them because you’re right about being right in your own world and they’re not only wrong but lying to themselves and talking rubbish to boot.

    Unfortunately the opinions you’ll usually get back off these pages are not only even balder than the ones you put out but frequently far more divisive and far ruder, less measured than anything you’d ever imagine formulating. It’s unfortunate but probably a boomerang you could have foreseen.

  • Richard P

    Optimism is fine if grounded in reality.

    Otherwise, it is just delusion.

    You are someone who you appears to regard the contemptuous disregard of many South Africans for the law as something which makes SA a better place to live, and bring up kids, than Australia. That goes way beyond even delusional optimism.

  • http://www.obama.com Phillipa Lipinsky

    Also, who rates these blogs because I see that some really poorly-written blogs have high ratings (as long as the writer bashes somebody).

    I’d like to give this article the highest rating. And I say: Dale Williams for President!

    South Africa would sure be a better place with such an intelligent visionary as yourself. Whatever party you join; I’m on board!

  • SouthEaster

    It’s a good attitude to have. However you’re not accounting for the possibility that some of today’s pessimists were optimists. It’s just that they’ve already got to that day you talk about, and are now in the day that comes next.

  • Dave Harris

    Dale, I wholeheartedly concur with Phillipa here. I don’t know much about you but from the tone of your blogging I say that if EVER there was a chance of a white guy being the president of SA, I’d say you would be a prime candidate – even the ANC or Cope would welcome you. In fact, what would be better for a multi-party democracy in SA is if you take over the DA and rescue them from their own self-destruction.

  • Richard P

    @ Phillipa Lipinsky

    Carry on like that, and I might think that you are Dale’s groupie (with all that goes with being a groupie).

  • Richard P

    @ Phillipa Lipinsky

    “Whatever party you join; I’m on board!”

    Would that also include the DA, eh?

  • Jon


  • Richard P

    @ Dave Harris

    Why don’t Phillipa and you form a fan club then? You can even wear T-shirts printed with Dale’s photo and host fan conventions (if you can call a meeting of two people a “convention”).

  • ian

    Pessimists have great fun when their expectations of the worst don’t occur..the joy must be double of the optimist.
    I am curious though – is simple optimism enough to cause such an outpouring of gush? Whilst an admirable trait, its hardly presidential is it?

  • Craig

    Also Dale, I think there are clear cases where optimism is an undesireable trait – any job that requires forward planning or risk management for example.

    To put it more simply, an optimistic outlook is more risky than a pessimistic one.

  • Belle

    No doubt all those educated Zimbabweans, who loved their liberators for 2 decades, also slept well and had great fun right up until they ducked and ran …

  • http://www.nickvanderleek.com Nick

    He he…some great comments here. I like the idea that pessimism is an evolutionary response. And also optimism only works if grounded in reality (which I think proves the former point).

  • vic

    @Dale :

    ” Between today and then, however, I will have been happier, slept better, held more hope and had more fun, than the pessimist.”

    How do you come to that conclusion ?

    Many of those SA residents I am still in touch with are forcing themselves to gamble life and future on “hope” in the face of an onslaught from violent criminals elements….a government full of crooks and skin colour based job selection.

    Talk to them and they well describe themselves as optimists (hell, they have to be under such circumstances) ……but what sad optimists they are.

    I am pessimistic about SA …highly so.

    That pessimism is based on the facts.

    However I am optimistic and very positive re. my new country, lifestyle and childrens future.

    You see Dale …your ramblings in the above blog are based soley on the premise that those who are pessimistic about SA …are pessimistic about everything …and that pessimism makes folk unhappy.

    Very clearly , that is complete rubbish.