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Pessimist? Be A Lawyer November 9, 2007

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Life, Lifestyle.
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Science Journal – WSJ.com
Optimists, the Duke finance scholars discovered, worked longer hours every week, expected to retire later in life, were less likely to smoke and, when they divorced, were more likely to remarry. They also saved more, had more of their wealth in liquid assets, invested more in individual stocks and paid credit-card bills more promptly.

Yet those who saw the future too brightly — people who in the survey overestimated their own likely lifespan by 20 years or more — behaved in just the opposite way, the researchers discovered. Rather than save, they squandered. They postponed bill-paying. Instead of taking the long view, they barely looked past tomorrow.

Surveying law students at the University of Virginia, he found that pessimists got better grades, were more likely to make law review and, upon graduation, received better job offers. There was no scientific reason. “In law,” he said, “pessimism is considered prudence.” The most widely held profession, of those elected to serve us in Washington, is the Legal profession. We are being governed by a bunch of Pessimists. If you expect the worst in everyone, then you’ll legislate accordingly. So if Optimists “saved more”, then you would expect increasing deficits from Pessimists? No wonder us Optimists give Congress such a dismal approval rating.

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