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Optimism For Pessimists

Stranger things have happened.

This is one of my favorite things to say.

It’s hopeful, but not giddy. Cautiously optimistic. Optimism for pessimists.

It’s a shrug of the shoulders, a little bit superstitious. You don’t want to be too confident but, you know…it could happen. Stranger things have.

And almost no matter what you’re talking about, it’s true. All kinds of strange stuff happens every day, so unless you’re talking about the Rapture, there’s a good chance that something stranger than whatever is under discussion has happened at some point in time.

It’s a version of “anything can happen,” but with shadowy images of all kinds of stranger things that have actually happened. You might pause a moment, to try to think of things that would be stranger than whatever event is under discussion. It’s also a version of “miracles happen,” but a lot darker.  It’s not talking miraculous. It’s talking strange.

“Stranger things have happened” is full of possibilities. Might I make a million dollars on my new book? Stranger things have happened. Might Jon Stewart invite me to be on the Daily Show? Stranger things have happened. Or maybe it will be Stephen Colbert. Stranger things have happened. This, for example.

“Stranger things can happen” is like the Magic 8 Ball. Or newspaper horoscopes. It’s vague and nonspecific, so it’s deliciously all purpose and gives you something to dream on without making any promises.

Maybe you’ll run out and buy my new book when it hits stores on Tuesday. You never know. Stranger things have happened.

Optimism For Pessimists

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APA Reference
Dembling, S. (2012). Optimism For Pessimists. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 23, 2019, from


Last updated: 30 Nov 2012
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Nov 2012
Published on All rights reserved.