Eeyore: A Pessimist’s Guide to a Beautiful Life

I’m a recovering pessimist. That may be surprising, given the nature of my site. But in a paradoxical way, pessimism is great fuel for personal growth. Dwelling on misery leads to striving for the best possible world.

Eeyore is the perfect pessimist; the thistle eating, gloomy but joyful donkey from A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh.

Re-reading Milne’s classic has reminded me that being poor can teach us to appreciate wealth; having your heart broken can teach to love faithfully; and going through failures can magnifying our victories. Eeyore’s melancholy also highlights the joys in life.

Here are 7 classic lines from Eeyore:

• • • 

Thanks for noticing me.

It’s what we all want. Beyond our physical needs, the existential need for acknowledgment underlies what we do.

To be noticed. To be loved. To be validated.

There is power in acknowledging someone’s presence. Appreciating their uniqueness. And reflecting on the serendipity that has allowed a friendship to form. 

And when silence is no longer awkward in any relationship—it’s an experience of ‘noticing’ one another that should be celebrated.

• • • 

“It’s snowing still,” said Eeyore, gloomily . . .“However, we haven’t had an earthquake lately.”

We’ve all blown things out of proportion before. Our problems will expand to fill the mental space we give it, and often, we give far too much.

Psychologists call it “catastrophic thinking,” defaulting to worst case scenarios—we think getting pulled over means a night in jail. Fear is a powerful mechanism, and if untamed, it knows no boundaries.

“However” is a powerful word. It causes a mental reappraisal; a mindfulness that allows for rational evaluation. And, allows us to realize if we are being overdramatic.  

• • • 

A tail isn’t a tail to them, it’s just a little bit extra at the back.

People have different perspectives, and that’s okay. 

We celebrate freedom of speech, but often get bent out of shape when someone expresses an opposing view.

Not everyone will understand you, and that’s okay. 

• • • 

To the uneducated, an ‘A’ is just three sticks.

Ignorance is bliss. Eeyore probably knew Socrates, who said, “the unexamined life is not worth living.”

Knowledge has the power to expand our human experience. To learn any language is to open up to literally a whole new world. To learn any skill increases your self-confidence and ability to add value to others. 

Give yourself the gift of seeing more than just sticks; challenge yourself to learn one new thing each day.

• • • 

They’re funny things, accidents. You never have them till you’re having them.

To live life in bubble-wrap may prevent us from getting hurt, but also from experiencing a meaningful life.

So while it’s wise to be cautious, ultimately doing your best is the best you can do. Accidents are indiscriminate. So to try and live in prediction of them is paralyzing.

• • • 

A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference. Or so the say.

Our survival mechanism makes us selfish. Children are quick to scream “mine!” 

But our desire for selflessness is equally strong. We’ve heard it a thousand times: “it’s better to give than receive.”

Kindness takes more effort than we’d like to admit. But the possibility of making someone’s day should be good motivation. Even if the difference goes unnoticed.

• • • 

We can’t all, and some of us don’t. That’s all there is to it.

     —”Can’t all what?” said Pooh, rubbing his nose.

Gaiety. Song-and-dance. Here we go round the mulberry bush.

Introversion is overshadowed by a culture that celebrates extroversion. Thankfully there’s more balance nowadays with introversion seen less as an issue to “fix.”

With any ‘cultural norm,’ there’s a always the temptation to conform. But, we can’t all, and we shouldn’t. There’s beauty in being different. Cookie-cutters are meant for cookies, not life.