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“As levels of wealth increase, feelings of compassion and empathy go down, and their feelings of self-interest and the ideology of entitlement increases.”

In this entertaining but sobering talk, social psychologist Paul Piff shares his research into how people behave when they feel wealthy. (Hint: badly.) But while the problem of inequality is a complex and daunting challenge, there’s good news too.

 

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We shroud ourselves in beliefs that help us feel secure. One of these is that things tomorrow will be the same as they were yesterday. But the idea that things don’t change is a delusion, that is all.

Nothing wrong with that, but it is best to recognise it, and to keep an open mind about what will happen next. The greater our need to keep things the way they are, the greater the risk of disappointment and even neurosis.

Trying to control the uncontrollable is unpleasant for us, and those around us.

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Selective Optimism for Pessimists

There are advantages to optimism that are worth considering, but some people are put off because they don’t want to be disloyal to negativity.

Optimism and pessimism are generally seen as opposites, but that doesn’t mean they are mutually exclusive; learning optimism does not mean abandoning negativity. If that is what turns you on, stick with it.

If you tend towards a pessimistic outlook, how about learning selective optimism? That way you can get the benefits and still be true to your negativity.

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