We need to recruit the pessimists to our cause, the ones who have a hard time believing that anything can be done, the ones that don’t want to invest in something that is futile.
I am reminded of something that I believe MLK Jr said that when they recruited someone to non-violence who hadn’t previously bought into it that those were the most fervent of their recruits. And I get that.
We don’t just want the people who are committed to doing something no matter what, we need the people who don’t do things when they believe it’s futile. We need them to believe that what we are doing is not futile. They are discriminating, and don’t want to waste their time unless it can be effective, so they are the most likely to be effective, if you can get them on board. They have vision, they have foresight, that’s why they are pessimistic, but it’s also why they understand what needs to be done to be effective. We need the people who are optimistic too, they don’t get as easily discouraged, they keep our spirits up, they help us when we are down, but we need the pessimists to drive us with their critical thinking.
We want to keep trying, and we don’t want to stop just because we aren’t sure we’re going to win, but we also want to have our best shot at winning. We don’t want to just work to make ourselves feel better, to feel like we fought the good fight, or that we are not to blame for the outcome. That won’t work. Because it feels bad to lose, even if we don’t feel like it was our fault, and who’s to say we won’t blame ourselves anyway?