I Am An Occasional Pessimist Essay

I Am An Occasional Pessimist Essay

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“To the optimist, the glass is half full. To the pessimist, the glass is half empty. To the engineer… the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.” Although I appreciate the humor in this joke, it has provoked me to consider my worldview. The statement makes the assumption that pessimism, optimism, and engineering are mutually exclusive concepts; however, I have found that it takes a combination of all three ways of thinking to be successful.
I admit it: I am an occasional pessimist. Although that term usually carries a negative connotation and such a statement seems like self-condemnation, I actually believe it is one of my strengths. We are often told to look to a brighter future and not focus on the problems of today, but how are we to ever obtain that bright future without first resolving the current complications? I analyze the world around me with a critical eye because identifying the problems is the prerequisite to finding solution. In this respect, I see many great thinkers as pessimists in that they saw a weakness and took steps to change it for the better. For example, the builders of the Central Pacific Railroad had to overcome the monstrous obstacle of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in order to complete the Transcontinental Railroad. This was no simple task; it took a certain negativity to see the faults in one route or the other and expose the potential dangers that could cost the lives of workers and passengers alike. Before a single rail was laid, engineers first surveyed the prospective routes through the mountains, critically seeking the safest route by first evaluating risk. Asking questions is the best way to expose weaknesses, and it is my natural tendency to make such inquiries. For as long as I can remembe...


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...1930s, engineers were able to accomplish so much with so little. Imagine the possibilities today with our current resources and technology. Although it does take an optimist to recognize potential, an engineering mindset is the key to applying a theoretical concept to daily life. I cannot wait to tackle the problems I will face in the future. The challenges yet to come will require both extensive knowledge and ingenious methods to make it reality.
three worldviews, I will be able to live my passion to the fullest potential and do my part to improve the world around me. I can see the potential of an engineering career, and the glimpses have seen already make me want to pursue this field passionately. The way I think about problems is one of my favorite things about myself, and I want to continue cultivating it by following a path of higher education in engineering.

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