When researchers studied the mindset and behaviours of pessimists versus optimists, they created a shorthand called the 3 P’s to summarize the pattern they found.
Essentially, pessimists tend to make a negative event or setback feel catastrophic by:
perceiving it as pervasive (“everything in my life sucks”)
permanent (“things will always be like this”)
personal (“it’s my fault; I am terrible”)
Whereas optimists do the opposite by perceiving it as:
isolated (“the rest of my life is fine”)
temporary (“today was a bad day but tomorrow will be better”)
impersonal (“the other team got lucky and won”).
The researchers also found that a pessimist could learn optimism by noticing when their mind is catastrophizing using the 3 P’s and then proactively reframe the event as isolated, temporary and impersonal.