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"Default Mode Pessimism" and Its Relevance to OBNUG


This post is prompted by an earlier one by a fellow attorney. Markt posits, and indeed quotes a poem in support of his position, that it is better to be pessimistic, wary,watchful and thus prepared than, implicitly,  to be otherwise. I reflected on this (reflectivity) and felt, since we are moving toward another winter of discontent ("Richard III") that it would be condign to explore the implications of brother markt's observation. This led to my formulation of a seminal concept in cognitive psychology (if I do say so myself), "default mode pessimism". All things in the universe inevitabley lead to the Boise State Broncos and "DMP" is no exception.

Our ancestors were hunter/gatherers. Anyone who has ever hunted ("hunt" used here to mean obtaining sustenance from fauna and thus includes fishing) knows that failure is more often his lot than otherwise. Gathering, too, when done daily for survival reaches a point that depletion is evident and the group must move, hopefully, to "greener" pastures. In order to survive, the tribe, collectively and individually, would have to be psychologically preconditioned to lowered expectations so as not to despair and lose motivation when the hunters returned empty and/or the fields yielded no edible flora. We thus inherited default mode pessimism; our natural state is to expect the worst, be joyful when we receive more, and confirmed but not desparing when we get zilch. It's also easier; focusing your energy on what you want (food) and not what you have(spouse, kids, fire, shelter) is the most efficient use of that same energy. Thus, if we do nothing vis-a-vis our psychological state we will be in default mode pessimism, not a sought after or achieved mental state but one that we are in unless we actively seek to change it.

Hopeful expectation is risky. It is easier to maintain a workable mental state, even if depressive, than return to it after being bitterly disappointed. If our ancestors expected to eat a juicy mastodon steak but, instead, had to do with dried leather  tassles, well, the emotional whiplash could make for a deadly downturn in preparedness. I am not suggesting that we are doomed to depression but that our "natural" state, unaffected, is " the glass half empty". As Rush Limbaugh says "You don't need a seminar to learn how to worry." Default mode; failure to act, in this case to affirmatively address your emotional state, results in this. One does not plunge or even drift into it; rather, like a lobster in a cauldron, we are just "there".    

What does this have to do with the Broncos? Plenty. I heard a prediction we'd go 8-3 next year. I don't think the person who said it believes it, but he's gearing himself, getting his pessimstic game on, so he won't experience the letdown of a few weeks ago. Keeping expectations low so you won't be disappointed is default mode pessimism in its working clothes. And it does work, but pessimsim is a landlord that double-charges the rent.  Overattachment; in sports or politics,  leads to this psychological intra-drama.

My solution: Recognize DMP for what it is. Dare for optimism but don't hold on to it to dearly; handle it like a wet bar of soap in a hot shower, firmly without gripping. Before midnight Wednesday we'll be embarked on the long off season. I'll see you there; godspeed my NUGies.                

This content was not created by OBNUG and therefore may not meet our standards. On the contrary, it probably exceeds them.

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