A cure for pessimism? 16. May 2007 William Davis (3) Followers of the Track Your Plaque program know that we place great value on having an optimistic outlook. Not only are you more likely to be happy and successful in life, you are also far more likely to drop your CT heart scan score. Virtually everyone who has succeeded in dropping their heart scan score dramatically has been an optimist, including our most recent record holder who dropped his score an astounding 51%.But what if you are a pessimist, someone who gripes and complains about everything, sees the bad in other people, blames others for anything and everything that goes wrong--yet you still desire to drop your heart scan score? Are you a lost cause? Should you just give up?I don't think so. I will admit that, of all the hurdles we encounter in trying to purposefully stop or reduce heart scan scores, overcoming a pessimistic attitude is probably the toughest. Tougher than being overweight, maybe tougher than even Lp(a). Perhaps there's a solution in two years of psychotherapy sessions with a counselor, or exploring unresolved childhood conflicts with a psychologist, or an antidepressant drug. Pessimism is, after all, a deeply-ingrained pattern of behavior, something that can't be changed just by suggesting it or simple self-realization. The closest thing I know of to a quick and relatively easy solution for converting a pessimist to an optimist is very simple:Do good things for other people.Something peculiar happens to the pessimist when he/she starts to help others. They are less threatened by other people (since much griping is really fear in disguise), begin to see others as vulnerable creatures who could use their help rather than sources of annoyance, and a kinship with others is acquired. Doing good things can mean giving blood, donating money to the Sierra Club or other charity, volunteering with the Boy Scouts, tipping the hard working waitress trying to pay for college more generously, paying compliments to people around you, helping a neighbor carry the groceries when you see him struggling, showing a child how to make a paper airplane . . .Good deeds can take a million different forms. But it must involve you personally. It can't mean delegating a helpful activity to your spouse. You must also do it frequently, not just once a year. It doesn't have to cost money, it doesn't have to involve a lot of time (though your personal bodily involvement does yield the greatest return in optimism). These are things anyone can do and help make the world around you a little better. If taking these small steps towards an optimistic attitude are too much for you, then I would worry that you are destined to fail in dropping your heart scan score.