top of page

[Bali life] Stockdale Paradox -- Be optimistic and pessimistic

A few days ago, Amanda wrote about the paradox of fear and joy. This reminds me of a message to my friend which I sent at the beginning of the corona pandemic about eight months ago. So, I post that below. This message shows the importance of being realistic during the uncertain period. In other words, we need to be optimistic at the same time being pessimistic. This text below was originally sent as a private message, so I am sorry if it has some plagiarism beside the interview of Stockdale.


Stockdale Paradox is a useful reference for how to survive in corona pandemic condition. Admiral James Stockdale is a survivor of 8 years tortured in the prisons during the Vietnam war. He believed that he would survive at the end, but did not optimistically think the torture would end by Christmas, i.e. mixture of ultimate optimism and realism in uncertainly. He said, the optimists died:

"Who didn't make it out?"

"Oh, that's easy," he said. "The optimists."

"The optimists? I don't understand," I said, now completely confused,

given what he'd said a hundred meters earlier.

"The optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, 'We're going to be out by

Christmas.' And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then

they'd say,'We're going to be out by Easter.' And Easter would come, and

Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas

again. And they died of a broken heart."

Also, another history shows the higher death number after Christmas in Nazi camps. The same reason, I guess. The virus peak may come soon, but economic and social difficulties which will be bigger will last a few years or longer in Bali (this is what I am thinking now). So, this is an idea why "wishful thought" could be dangerous. I am optimistic that I will find a way to survive and so the others. And we need to prepare for that. Whether we like or not, Society 5.0 will come, so we need to move toward the direction. Bali government is better to prepare for that. Okinawa (south island of Japan) has relied on tourism and US military base, but now they have the best research institute in Japan. Why not Bali 😉. Now, it does not matter where we live, and this is still a nice place to live. I am not getting out of my house for three weeks, but this is looking better than many European and Japanese friends when I do zoom meeting!

12 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page