Imagine that during your next “routine” traffic stop the passenger bails out of the vehicle and starts shooting at you during your initial approach. The pessimist in you has already prepared you for this moment, so you’re not surprised, you’re ready. The optimistic side of you says “I deserve a positive future. I’m going to win this gunfight.” You take cover, draw your weapon, stop the threat, administer self-aid if necessary; in other words, you win the gunfight. You just successfully combined optimism and pessimism!
If you are used to thinking of yourself as an optimist, remember, the water is in the middle of the glass and it’s not going to move either way unless someone takes a drink or fills it to the top. You’ve got to be prepared for not having enough water, or having too much water that it overflows. So when someone asks you if you’re an optimist or a pessimist, the truth is, in our profession, you have to be both. Stay safe!