In our contemporary shelter-seeking exploratory efforts, our evolved instincts instruct us to focus on two variables that are interrelated: time and data. Time is the inherent evolutionary variable. Nothing evolves without its passage. From seconds to millions of years, evolution requires time. What is the function of evolutionary time? Since evolution is defined by change, it must be to allow development to occur. All change and development has a time framework-sometimes seconds, sometimes hundreds of thousands of years. Nearly all optimism research looks at the overall relationship among variables without examining the full distribution of data that make up the relationship. Although imprecise measurement would often preclude definitive distinctions among the literally straight lines and the others, we are aware of no published studies that have even made the attempt. We think that researchers should scrutinize their data as closely possible. If it were established that optimism per se confers no particular advantage beyond Conversely, if pessimism per se does not compromise how people function, we should leave these beliefs alone in therapeutic or preventive interventions. And so on. Another criticism of not looking closely at what the data show is that researchers may study lines e, f, or g, and then discuss the results as if the data reflected lines a, b, or c. For example, if we find that pessimistic individuals are depressed and physically ill (eg, Peterson & Seligman, 1984; Peterson, Seligman, & Vaillant, 1988), we glibly render this result as showing that optimistic people are happy and healthy, even if our outcomes measures did not allow people to manifest happiness or health (eg, Peterson & Bossio, 1991). There is more to happiness than the absence of depression (Myers & Diener, 1995), and there is more to health than the absence of illness (Seeman, 1989). But somehow this obvious point can be ignored when optimism researchers interpret their findings. As more people use herbal medicine, pharmacists must be informed about their safety. This requires an assessment of the market coverage and regulations of products that may affect product safety (Boullata and Nace, 2000). The adverse effects of some traditional Chinese medicines have recently has investigated (Yi-Tsan and Chuang-Ye, 1997).
Most of the Ayurvedic preparations available on the market are wrong, tampered with, or have the wrong brand (Kumar 1998). Most of the developments on the market do not even support old Ayurvedic texts. One year after giving birth, it is medicinal, powders made from them are only valid for six months, and pastes are valid for one year. However, formulations usually do not have an expiration date or potential side effects. In some cases, you can see that almost all herbal medicines mixed with symptomatic drugs. LeicesterRoyalInfimary found that a sample of traditional Chinese medicine given to women for eczema contained steroids (Graham-Brown et al. , 1994). In either instance, change takes time. It takes time for a student to demonstrate progress, it takes time for an employee to do the same, and it takes time to develop real estate, natural or man-made. The length of time needed depends on the task that is to happen. For a fetus to develop into an infant, it takes nine months, whereas the development of man from earlier primates took hundreds of thousands of years. No one can rush time. You might want the next 24 hours to pass quickly, but it is still going to take 24 hours. Sometimes, of course, time seems to take forever, or go extremely fast, but this is attributable to psychological perception, not the actual adjustment of physical time. For proper instinctive shelter seeking, this means taking enough time to scout out your environment to be sure you make the right match play. If you've seen as many science fiction movies as I have, you know that when the space ship lands, step one is to analyze the atmosphere to see whether it will support life. You need data about your environment--mainly- will it give you what you need to develop, to grow? So long as outcome measures reflect only degrees of pathology, no conclusions can be drawn about flourishing. This is an important lesson for positive psychologists of all stripes. It is not enough to study positive predictors like optimism or wisdom or courage or future-mindedness one must also study positive outcomes.
For example, according to Ryff's (1989 also, Ryff & Keyes, 1995) conceptualization of subjective well-being, positive psychological adjustment in adults can be viewed as reflecting several relatively distinct and important dimensions (autonomy, environmental mastery, personal growth, positive relations with others, purpose in life, and self-acceptance see also article 13, this volume). An example of the interesting results that can come from a full range of outcome measures is research into defensive pessimism by Norem and Cantor (1986). Some students cope with anxiety about pending exams by expressing negative expectations. This process harnesses their anxiety, which might otherwise interfere with their performance. They actually do better on the exam than individuals who are not allowed to indulge their pessimism. The only way that this finding was possible was by using an outcome measure that allowed a full range of possibilities, from bad to good. These data also show that pessimism is not always dysfunctional - Its role depends on the context. Undeclared medications, including phenylbutazone, diazepam, and corticosteroids, have been demonstrated in traditional Chinese arthritis treatments (Vander Stricht et al. , 1994). Without control, there is no guarantee that herbs contained in the bottle will be the same as those listed on the outside. The widespread neglect of quality control in the health food industry has undermined the production of many essential herbs. For example, it has estimated that over 50% of Echinacea sold in the United States between 1980 and 1991 was parthenium integrifolium due to the detection of a supplier error. This emphasizes the importance of using the scientific name Latin because both herbs above are called Snakeroot, Missouri and have applied for proper plant identification based on sensory, microscopic, and technical analysis (Murray and Pizzahorno, 2000). Plant materials used in industrial and developing countries as raw materials for home remedies, over-the-counter medicines, and the pharmaceutical industry. You've seen Troy, Spider-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor, The Avengers. You love the movies and you want to look like the actors who portray your favorite heroes. You probably think they are blessed with great genetics. Count on the fact that the caveman who first analyzed the components of his environment, to determine whether it was suitable to settle or better to keep on searching, was better at finding a home than his cousin who might have settled immediately because he liked the view only to realize too late that it was a long way from the market. Most people hurt themselves by having data problems, either in the form of incomplete data or inaccurate data. Many times this occurs because not enough time was spent in data collection- other times we get ourselves into bad situations because we put our emphasis on inappropriate data, and this often happens when we are not tuned to our true emotional nutrients.
Regardless, you need to search your environment for the data that helps you decide whether you are in the right place. Sensing the Right Environment You can take all the time you want and have all the data at your disposal, but you are still going to have to sense and feel whether it is the right environment for you. Don't be one of the people who equate sensing with having an intuitive gut feeling. Sensing is not a gut feeling. It is a hardwired tool--that your evolutionary instincts leverage to help you validate whether you are making the right choice. Your senses enable you to process the world around you. Tuning in to the data your senses provide allows you to accurately decide whether the externals match up favorably with your internal feelings. Let us move to a discussion of the cultural context of optimism and pessimism, where studies to date show that the distinctions so far made matter (eg, Anderson, 1999 Crittendon, 1996 Domino & Lin, 1993; Heine & Lehman, 1995 Kuroda & Suzuki, 1991 Lee, Hallahan, & Herzog, 1996 Oettingen, 1995 Schutte, Valerio, & Carrillo, 1996). One question is whether cultures vary in their overall optimism and pessimism. In keeping with our argument, we can ask more specifically if cultures differ in the types of optimism that are common. This question then leads to additional questions about the relationship of optimism and pessimism to different outcomes. Do these relationships vary by culture? Are the mechanisms linking optimism and pessimism to outcomes a function of culture? Remember the features of optimism that we introduced. Might cultures differ in their endorsement of these features? In the contemporary United States, for example, feeling good is very important to people, and we should expect to see a relentless accent on the positive (Heine, Lehman, Markus, & Kitayama, 1999). Maybe they are. Or maybe you're convinced they just look that way because that's how actors look. Well, that's not entirely true.
Every single one of them has worked their butt off to have the body that they have. That's the genetics of hard work. Is it for you? Can you look like Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, or Chris Pratt? I don't know. What I do know is what works--what's real and what isn't. Let's start with this. In fact, it is the accuracy of this match that gives rise to sharp instincts. Heighten and tune your awareness to sensory data and remember that what you see and hear is subject to your interpretation. You will always be better off when you can make sure your interpretations of the data are accurate by, for example, asking for clarification or collecting more data. Seeing a lot of people sitting by themselves in a company cafeteria might give you a different instinctual sense than if you only listened to the recruiter telling you it's a very interactive company culture. You might see a lot of people interested in what they are doing, but if you hear people say that instead it's a very competitive environment, your instincts might influence you a different way. Mother Nature has given you multiple senses to learn about your environment. You need to remember to use all your senses to help assess whether the environment offers what you need. Naturally, what is needed is different for all of us, but it is hard to go wrong if you focus on an environment where you sense the potential of joy, interest, and engagement. Interest motivates learning, the development of skills and competencies, and creative endeavor in a work environment, and fosters social bonds in a relationship. Whether it is a job or a partner, make sure you feel interested. In contrast, traditional Muslim cultures value sobriety and solemnity. This does not mean that clinical depression is a goal people seek, but it does suggest that positive expectations do not run amok. Be your own best friend is an unlikely bumper sticker slogan to see in Saudi Arabia, for example.