The old thinking: Pessimism is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Debbie Downers aren't just annoying; they're also less likely to prosper.
The new wisdom: All that worst-case-scenario brooding can make pessimists more
likely to foresee—and overcome—potential future problems. "Defensive
pessimism—thinking specifically about what might
go wrong—can turn anxiety into action," says Julie K. Norem, PhD,
professor of psychology at Wellesley College and author of The Positive
Power of Negative Thinking.