Are You An Optimist, Pessimist Or A Realist?


Nothing is more annoying than people telling you to be optimistic when all you feel for is to stay in bed and hybernate. Some people belong to those indomitable optimists and nothing seems to change their persistent focus on the bright side of life. A sure source of irritation if you are a pessimists. So then what about the so-called realists? A realist is said to see life as it is and is not negative or positive.   A paradise is a paradise, while a bad situation is bad. With this in mind, is optimism foolish or important?

Blog 99‘Always look on the bright side of life’ Eric Idle sang in all his optimism and this despite expressing – ‘life’s a piece of shit, when you look at it’ (pardon the language but he sang that, not me). Do optimists live happier than pessimists? Probably, as they do not spend their energy lining out negative aspects of situations that might never happen. ‘What if’, is the thought that can occupy the brain of the pessimist, while an optimist would think ‘no need to bother myself with things that might never happen’. For a pessimist however, the negative ‘what if’ thought resides nestled in the brain.

“The pessimist complains about the wind, the optimist expects it to change, the realist adjusts the sails” William Arthur Ward once said. Action will depend on how we perceive reality. Many great leaders are said to be born optimists, but it has also appeared that they have an inherent capability of looking at the bright side of life even during the darkest moments. An optimistic personality seems inextricably linked to success. On the other hand, a pessimist generally having low expectations of the future might be positively surprised. “Life is divided between the horrible and the miserable” as Woody Allen once said, might have provided an excessively negative and pessimistic perception of life. Yet, some would say that pessimism provides a more realistic view of life. Is that so?

“Expect the best, prepare for the worst and prepare to be surprised” to quote Denis Waitley is neither optimistic nor pessimistic. Perhaps, it’s realistic thinking all the time no one knows the day of tomorrow? Murphy’s Law states “anything that can go wrong will” and hence it is better to prepare for the worst and then hope for the best. Some research indicates that whether you have an optimistic, pessimistic or realistic perspective on life the future outlook depends on age and not surprisingly available resources. There is a limit to everything. Excessive optimism is not realistic, while constant pessimism is counterproductive. I choose sticking to the following “It pays to plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark” (Anon).     




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