When it comes to the way that we tend to think, there are a number of biases and fallacies we
regularly fall into that have a highly influential effect upon our actions. One such bias is the Optimism Bias, which is a cognitive bias leading us to believe we are less at risk of experiencing a negative event than is someone else.
Smokes believe they are less at risk of cancer than are other smokers, drivers believe they are less likely to be in a car accident than others, traders believe they are less likely to lose money than their peers. The optimism bias influences many of the choices we make over the course of our lives, if not our days. However, overly positive assumptions can lead to miscalculations and poor choices like a failure to save for retirement, neglecting health issues or making a bad investment.
However, the optimism bias can also serve to motivate us and give us hope. As with all things, there is balance. Learning to recognise when our optimistic biases are leading us to make choices that don't serve us in the long term allows us to choose differently - ideally better. Conversely, there will be times when our optimistic tendencies will serve us well and should be allowed to instill us with the hope we need to persevere.
The challenge is in learning to differentiate the two.