Pessimism Is a Dying Art

Jimmy Tuten, Jr.
Tallmadge, Ohio

Tell a man it's impossible to go to the moon, farm the sea or cure polio, and he will class you with those who laughed at Buck Rogers and Jonas Salk. These and a thousand other things that were once impossible achievements are now realities. Far-out efforts are no longer viewed with pessimism. Pessimism is a dying art. This raises the question: how have men of great brilliance achieved so much? Was it by native ability alone? "No," answers Catherine Cox, who several years ago made an exhaustive study of childhood traits of 301 great men. Her conclusion was that those "who achieve eminence are characterized not only by high intelligence traits, but also by persistence of motive and effort, confidence in their abilities, and great strength of force of character (The Early Traits of Three Hundred Genuises, Stanford University Press, Pp. 217-219, underscoring mine, jt).

There is no achievement of any kind without great effort. It would be interesting to know how many persons have high IQ and good environment, but fail to achieve because of lack of persistence. Many are those who have excelled because of great effort: Pasteur, Bock, Samuel Johnson, etc. Repeated failures did not discourage men like Edison, George Bernard Shaw and William Pitt, who demonstrated that one can only achieve after great effort in the face of many failures. What about handicapped people? They too, can succeed. Beethoven was deaf, Milton was blind. Alexander Graham Bell had hearing problems. Demosthenes had speech defects. Lincoln, Dickens, etc. were born in poverty. Yes, there is no achievement without fortitude.

In the realm of the spiritual the same is true. Without great effort and faith there is no achievement. "Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove: and nothing shall be impossible unto you" (Mt. 17:19-20). Pessimism is a lost art in everything but personal evangelism. Brethren are still saying, "I can't do personal work." With patience, persistence, effort and fortitude one can do what he considers impossible. We have proven the pessimist wrong in most other areas. Why not make pessimism a dying art in your spiritual life? May the host of on-lookers in the heavenlies who have kept the faith challenge us to renew our efforts and strengthen our fortitude, even deepen our faith!

Truth Magazine, XVIII:14, p. 14
February 7, 1974