AEE 126: Does American Optimism Annoy You? 5 Phrases Used by the Optimist

American optimism (2)Does American optimism annoy you?

A lot of Americans tend to see the “bright side” of things.

Why is this?

Where does optimism show up in American English?

Where does it show up in our intonation and our expressions?

Optimistic expressions in English:

  • To look on the bright side: “Hey don’t be sad. Look on the bright side, at least you are healthy.”
  • To stay positive: “Things are tough right now but let’s stay positive”
  • Chin up: “Come on, chin up, everything is going to be ok”
  • At least… : “You lost your job but at least you still have your house.”
  • To see the world with rose-colored glasses: “This guy sees the world with rose- colored glasses.”

 

Optimism is sometimes connected with comfort with ambiguity.

Hofstede is a Dutch researcher who studied uncertainty avoidance in different cultures.

Uncertainty avoidance means that you don’t feel comfortable with not knowing what’s going to happen or with an unclear situation.

 

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Hofstede’s findings on uncertainty avoidance:

1- Japan (high uncertainty avoidance, most comfortable with clear and certain situations) = 92

2- France

3- Brazil

4- Italy

5- US

6- China

7- Singapore

 

Here is a quote for today:

“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The realist adjusts the sails.”

– William Arthur Ward

 

What do you think? Are you optimistic or pessimistic?

Where does your culture fall on the uncertainty avoidance scale?

Let us know- let’s have a conversation!

 

Citation: Geert Hofstede

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