Are you an optimist?

Tali Sharot, author of a new book called The Optimism Bias, thinks you probably are an optimist.

In a recent article in Time magazine, Sharot points out that 10 percent of Americans expect to live to 100 when , in reality, only .02 percent will live that long.

Also, 93 percent of people surveyed believed that they were in the top 50th percentile for driving ability. And, none of the people applying for marriage licenses thought that there was any likelihood that they would get a divorce.

Optimism, Sharot contends, helped our ancestors survive. People who saved food and resources for times of scarcity and worked hard to secure a better future had a better chance of surviving.

“To make progress, we need to be able to imagine alternative realities—better ones—and we need to believe we can achieve them,” Sharot says. “Such faith helps motivate us to pursue our goals. Optimists in general work longer hours and tend to earn more.”

Of course, people can be overly positive and make disastrous choices, such as neglecting to get an annual medical exam or to fasten the seat belt. But a little optimism is a very good thing.

We’re going to practice being optimistic this week.

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