Optimistic Pessimism

One of the most real-world, kick-ass guys I’ve come across on the internet is a copywriter named John Carlton.

He claims to teach people about copywriting.

John really teaches people about life.

People go to John to learn how to sell more stuff and make more money. He accepts that – and then slides in the real stuff.

Here is an example from a recent post on the steps for presenting Seminars…

“2. Have a couple of “Plan B” options in your back pocket.

I always know I’m dealing with rookies — in any kind of venture or project — when I hear them say “We got it covered — what could possibly go wrong?”


I’ve always nurtured an attitude of optimistic pessimism. I happily expect things to go horribly wrong… and thus I’m never shocked or unprepared to dive into alternative plans.

So when the electricity goes out… or the hotel double-schedules a wedding in the meeting room we’re using… or an attendee has a schizophrenic episode that requires intervention… or the camera guy shows up drunk or missing… and yes, all of these things have happened… I do not suffer even an instant of paralysis.

Just take a deep breath… knowing you’re gonna have one hell of a funny story to tell later… and start fixing things.

Also… if everything accidentally does go off without a hitch, you are more appreciative… because smooth sailing wasn’t expected.

Nothing tempts the gods of mayhem more than someone who takes it for granted that all will go well.”

There endth the lesson.

-Dr Martin Russell

One thought on “Optimistic Pessimism”

  1. “A Plan Never Survives Contact With The Enemy” – things will always change, you will always forget something that is mission critical and you will only have 1/2 the men you actually need.

    So it was in the Army and so it is in software development.

Leave a Reply