4 Ways Pessimism Can Decrease Motivation (And 3 Ways To Prevent It)

4 Ways Pessimism Can Decrease Motivation (And 3 Ways To Prevent It)

decrease motivationHabits


Are your thoughts causing you to decrease motivation in your life?

Ask yourself these things:

Do you consider yourself a pessimistic person? Do you often see the glass half-empty instead of half-full? Perhaps you get called a cynic or a downer when you express your thoughts? Finally, do you consider yourself a real individual and tend to believe that real life is negative and full of bad things?


There are plenty of pessimists in the world. If you answered “yes” to any of the prior questions, you might be one of them. A pessimist can see nothing but doom and gloom, but it can also be someone who tends to see the risks and challenges more than the good things in life. You might not feel like celebrating positive things, or you might go as far as to preach that everything is hopeless!

Wherever you fall on the spectrum of pessimism, it’s worth being aware of the fact that pessimism is more likely to harm than help you. But how can it be bad for you, and is there any way to stop it? Here are four ways pessimism can decrease motivation and ways to prevent it in three methods.

Four Ways Pessimism Can Decrease Motivation

Do you feel pessimistic? It might make you feel less motivated. Here is why.

decrease motivation
1.    Being Anxious and Stressed Will Decrease Motivation

Many pessimists struggle with stress, according to research. You’re likely to have poor coping skills for stress when you’re a pessimist, which can lend itself to exhaustion, fatigue, and a lot of anxiety. This stress happens because pessimists focus on bad things a lot, which will build stress levels in the body and make them less satisfied with life.

It’s true that, for some, a little bit of stress can be motivational. But the kind of stress that comes from pessimism – and the accompanying anxiety that stems from it – is not the kind to make you more motivated. Instead, it is likely to paralyze you, causing:

  • Worst-case scenario-type thinking
  • Excessive nervousness and worrying
  • Too much rumination

And, of course, the more paralyzed you are, the more stressed out and anxious you get. But the more pessimistic you become in turn, leading to a deadly cycle that begets itself!


2.    A Sapped Level of Confidence Can Decrease Motivation

Pessimism inherently tends to involve a lack of confidence. This is because the trait requires you to constantly think the worst may happen, which is a sign that you may:

  • Not believe in your capabilities to overcome problems and issues.
  • Seek to protect yourself against being hurt by others by expecting the worst, so you’re never disappointed.
  • Think you’re incapable of change and therefore believe you’re stuck in a situation forever.
  • Feel that you have no control over your life or its circumstances.
  • Think you have no power over the events in your life.

These are all marks of lacking confidence. When you believe in yourself, it’s tough to be pessimistic, as you naturally trust that you can overcome unfavorable circumstances. You get none of that positive thinking if you lack the self-esteem necessary for such belief, and your motivation suffers for it. You can’t have any drive if you don’t believe anything will come of it!

A lot of times, this kind of pessimism is also a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you don’t believe in yourself, your chance of success is also depleted because you don’t come in with confidence and awareness of your strengths. And then, when you don’t achieve success, you, with pessimism, may say something like, “I knew I couldn’t do it.” Naturally, this only further confirms your thoughts and makes you even more pessimistic!

3.   The Resulting Depression Might Decrease Motivation

Many individuals who are pessimists tend to overthink a lot, which can decrease mental wellbeing. Studies suggest that those who contemplate, brood, and overthink at higher rates often possess a worsened risk of developing depression and depressive symptoms.

Worse still, the cycle of negative thoughts is such that the more you have them, the more depressed you get, making you even more negative thoughts. Pessimism is, essentially, a downward spiral, and it’s a difficult one to break free from.

This kind of lack of positive thinking is enough to dampen motivation. You may think you’re not capable of success, which depresses you, and then that depression makes things feel even more hopeless. You may also experience other problems related to depression and its symptoms as a result, such as:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor moody
  • Constant negative thoughts

4.    Pessimism Decreases Motivation by Making Problems Seem Unsolvable

Pessimists have a specific explanatory style. An explanatory style refers to the way with which you interpret events and situations in your life. Studies show that optimists minimize negative things and focus on positive ones while pessimists maximize negative things and minimize positive ones.


Being aware of negative things is essential to proper problem-solving and planning, but there’s a point where focusing on the negative harms more than it helps. A pessimist faced with a struggle or challenge may focus so much on the negative that all problems feel more magnified, reducing the motivation to solve or overcome challenges to begin with.

On the other hand, an optimist, full of positive thinking, will be focusing on the good things and using that to motivate them to solve problems and move forward. They don’t feel the helplessness that a pessimist may feel, and they’re interested in seeking bold new solutions and turning to the future so they can learn and grow.

This positive thinking form is also known as a “growth mindset.” This mindset means that, when faced with difficult circumstances or even outright failure, you’d be motivated to keep going because you’re happy that you get to learn from those events. Pessimists don’t have this mindset, so they have no motivation, nor do they have any positive way of coping! They’re more likely to give up because of how helplessly they perceive the world around them.

decrease motivation
Three Ways To Prevent Pessimism That Decreases Motivation

Now that negativity decreases motivation, here are some new habits you can embrace to offset its impacts.

1.    Welcome Challenges

Pessimists often view challenges as high risks for failure, making them less likely to feel motivated to face the challenges they encounter. If that describes your worldview, then it’s time to change the way you view those challenges.

Instead of being afraid of them, worrying about them, or overthinking them, start welcoming the challenges you may face. They’re not your enemy, and facing a setback or “failing” doesn’t mean that you have truly failed. You can hammer this message home by:

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