The Supervillains of the Underworld
You practically cannot be as super-optimistic as criminals can. It is almost as though it is a super power. However, it is one super power that has made many lose their freedom and complete liberty. The bloated population in the country’s prisons is a testament to this assertion. This super power is in one called super-optimism. Criminals always expect to achieve success in any endeavor. They plan meticulously, gather resources, and when it is time to go hot, they proceed with a maddening sense of optimism that for a moment they feel invisible and untouchable. Every idea for these super-villains of the underworld is a reality, and every decision must stand.w
Their overarching certainty rests in part, on how they consider themselves unique, superior to everyone, and their preparedness to employ any means possible to achieve their objective. Now, to be clear, their super-optimism does not cloud their understanding of reality as much as you think. They do know the high costs associated with their trade. There is the possible of being caught or worse killed. However, when it is time to commit a crime, they shut off these thoughts and assume a cloak of assurance that they would surmount the odds. After all, they have done so many times already for months or years. Thus, every new success reinforces their super-optimism.
Optimism Bias in Everyday Activities
You would think the super-optimism of criminals only exists when they are prepping up for a bank robbery. No, it happens more often than you think, and the optimism bias can apply to the most mundane of scenarios. A criminal observing that a cautious driver ahead of him is obstructing his exasperating rush on a two-lane road would swerve, blare the horn of his car, and veer into the opposing traffic lane, all in a bid to weave around the cautious driver. While every other objective observer would see the one million and one ways this can quickly end up badly for everyone nearby, the criminal only sees one possibility. He would overtake the driver in front successfully. Other instances of Super-optimistic thought processes and actions include:
- Being certain that he would receive a wage increase, and already establishes a want to spend the extra income on
- Being certain that he has smitten a woman in a bar well in advance of approaching her, and berates her when she treats his advance with disdain
- Being certain that he will do exceptionally well in an exam, obviously expecting to engage in malpractice, and so do not prepare like every serious student would
- Being certain that if he went out with his buddies rather than try to secure an employment, his spouse would not mind, and so flies into a rage when she questions his decision
Super-optimism distorts reality so much that the criminal functions according to what he wants, rather than what his limited opportunities can get him. Thus, the criminal does not doubt the reasonableness of his demands or the correctness of his opinions.
For the criminal, life is a one-way street, and they are behind the wheels of a bulldozer, defiantly edging through whatever obstacle is before them with complete certainty that they would make it through to the end of the street.