Is the glass half full or half empty? This is a common analogy to describe an optimist and a pessimist.
I think it doesn’t go far enough. An optimist is someone who don’t just think the glass is half full but also hopeful that maybe one day it will be filled to the brim.
Where as a pessimist would worry not just because it’s only half full but maybe the glass may some day break, losing everything.
Then there are some who identify themselves as realist. They see things as it is and try to avoid being emotionally attached to the situation. It’s just a glass half filled.
Case studies have shown that prisoners of war who survived are usually realist and the pessimistic ones are the first to go, followed closely by the optimist. So I guess we should all be realist right?
Well I don’t think we should identify ourselves narrowly with either one but instead learn to see things from different perspectives to make sure we got all sides covered.
We can’t deny the power of hope even in the grimmest of situations. People have accomplished great feats when all they had was just a glimmer of hope.
Optimists are naturally hopeful and always see the bright side of life. We should learn to be positive and as a bonus, we will be happier too.
Hope is also a powerful tool to rally and motivate others. Deep down inside, everyone wants to believe that maybe someday, we can achieve our goal.
On the other hand, it’s important for us to plan for the worst. Pessimists are excellent at coming up with all sorts of doomsday scenario. This will help prepare us for the unexpected.
This paranoia is handy when you want to assess the down side of a situation. None of us want to lose and knowing how you might, is half the battle.
As long as you don’t go overboard with your pessimism, you’ll be alright. As the saying goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Be real and practical
Once you are hopeful of the situation but at the same time understand how things can go wrong, it’s time to come back to reality and act accordingly.
We need to assess the situation as it is. Identify the facts and truths. Be wary of our own beliefs and biases.
Realists are great at solving issues as they are clear headed and grounded while they seek for a solution. If you want to get things done, be a realist.
So the next time someone ask if you are an optimist, pessimist or realist? Tell them you are all three. You are someone who hope for the best, plan for the worst and take real action.