Optimism vs. Pessimism vs. Pragmatism
Personally, I don’t have much use for optimism or pessimism, where you expect the best or the worst outcome.
I’m more of a pragmatist in that I see myself as “one who holds that the meaning of beliefs are the actions they entail, and that the truth of those beliefs consist in the actions they entail successfully leading a believer to their goals.” [source]. That feels very Alma 32 to me on many levels. I tend to lean a little more toward pessimism in that regards but I don’t see it as being negative, I see it as viewing the world with that sense of caution that experience brings. Children are full of optimism because they are naive. They have the faith of innocence and this can be dangerous.
The adult is more likely to be full of pessimism due to disillusionment. Having lost their innocence, it gets harder to see positive outcomes when more often than not, failures come in brutal waves. Both the adult and the child see reality through destructive paradigms and this places both in a state of danger.
You cannot have faith like a child when you have lost your innocence. I don’t think the answer is somehow returning to innocence, it’s not possible. I think we progress by advancing to another state altogether.
I think this is where hope and faith come into play. I define hope as everything that falls into the sphere of what I actually believe is possible. Faith represents the action I take to bridge the gap between what I believe is possible and what reality reveals in the end. It may not end up being what you had hoped for, it may be something worse, but it may be something better. Until that time, faith, focus, desire, determination, vulnerability, patience, understanding, and wisdom are my watchwords. Whatever the outcome, hope can be fulfilled through faith.