1) Optimism that ensues from Faith in God Almighty.
2) Optimism of secular minds.
Secular optimism has a very narrow gap between itself and self-pride. It's often based on blind self-confidence ignoring logic, realism and the bounds of nature consisting of human limitations. Such optimism invariably has a dead-end at some point. You keep traveling as long as your self-confidence holds you and then eventually to bang against that dead-end, finding it impossible to stand upon your feet again. For instance, if an optimistic person with a secular mindset is diagnosed with a serious illness, their response might be along the following lines:
- "I will fight it and win"
- "I've always been a fighter and I've never lost"
- "I'm always a winner" and so on.
Optimism that arises out of one's understanding and unshakable faith in the Divine Power is a very different aspect. It perceives the issues of life through a different prism - a prism that consists of a vivid picture of the reality. And when reality is confronted with courage and acceptance, it cannot intimidate you any longer. It helps you to understand that boasting of your strength is neither necessary nor a guarantee for success. Subsequently it helps to clear up confusions and accept human limitations with a down-to-earth spirit. In other words, it helps you to accept the possibility of the inevitable without a sense of defeat or loss.
There are some Muslims who equate lack of optimism with disbelief. How thoughtless and wrong! The Noble Quran asserts the importance of saying "InshAllah."
"And say not of anything: Lo! I shall do that tomorrow, Except if Allah will. And remember thy Lord when thou forgettest, and say: It may be that my Lord guideth me unto a nearer way of truth than this." (18:23-24) Surah Al-Kahf.
"O ye who believe! Be not friendly with a folk with whom Allah is wroth, (a folk) who have despaired of the Hereafter as the disbelievers despair of those who are in the graves." (60:13)
It's interesting to note that psychologists too have been candid enough about the huge disadvantages of optimism on exactly the same lines as detailed above. The two categories of optimism in modern psycholoy are:
1) false optimism
2) rational optimism
"Don't worry or be concerned. All will be fine." - That's false optimism.
"Things look difficult and threatening. But if we handle them carefully, one step at a time, it's likely we'll succeed." - That's rational optimism.
Thirdly, psychologists also admit that in many inevitable situations neither false nor rational optimism would work. At such times what's necessary is simply the realistic acceptance of the inevitable without any twists or turns.
Quoting from Psychology Today is a very fine excerpt.
'X' suffered from what could be called "blinding optimism." He focused exclusively on the bright side of life, on all the good events. By sweeping harsh realities under the rug, he was often taken by surprise when unmistakably negative circumstances arose. He was often off guard and unprepared due to his ever-present rose-colored glasses.
In the light of the above discourse, merely the term "optimism" is a very broad or general expression. To specify and determine it as something negative or positive, it needs to be analysed. It could either lead to sensibility or stupidity, depending on how each individual reads it. If you balance your optimism with the spirit of Truth of both realms - this life and the Hereafter - it could be a wonderful thing for you. But if you embellish it with fantasy discarding the negative possibilities of life, that would be closer to deception than optimism, raising the possibility of greater disappointment in the future and leaving you more vulnerable.