It's time and past time for another entry in the Positive Psychology through Country Music series, so here it is. Thanks to Chris Peterson for this one; his comment on a listserve pointed out the connection.
For a while, researchers thought optimists were likely to keep pursuing impossible goals. Turns out to be wrong. They quit on impossible goals, maybe even sooner than pessimists, but the keep after possible goals with high levels of energy. That's what Karen Reivich and Jane Gillham call "flexible and accurate thinking." Further, according to Suzanne Segerstrom, optimists are better at setting goals that are aligned with their values and they tend to pursue goals across the important domains of life -- work, family, friends, leisure, community. In other words, they are often balanced. So, in honor of these flexible, accurate, goal-oriented, persistent, energetic, and balanced folks -- Kenny Rogers and The Gambler!