And is there a better third option?
I believe there is.
In this post, I’ll state my case against optimism and pessimism – I wonder if you’ll agree with my thoughts!
Are you a ‘glass-half-full’ or ‘glass-half-empty’ person?
Optimist. Pessimist. Opti-Realist.
We’re probably all aware of the differences between the first two, but for argument’s sake, I’ll clarify what I mean. (I’ll address the third in a moment.)
An Optimist (glass-half-full) has a positive outlook on life, believing their future will bring great things forth. A Pessimist (glass-half-empty) has a bleak outlook on life, assuming that nothing good is going to happen to them in their future.
For most of us, the reality is likely a mix of both depending on circumstances.
The Value of 'Off Days'
As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, for the most part – annoyingly for some – I can be positive and upbeat. I find this lends itself well to being creative and innovative.
But, of course, I have ‘off days.’ And I allow myself these for a specific reason.
For me, an ‘off day’ tends to be triggered by something that is happening around me.
For example, today, I was facing a very busy morning. My cleaner was due to give the house a thorough going-over before my afternoon of house viewings – I’m currently selling my home. At 8 am, she texted to say she couldn’t make it. No big thing you might think, but for me, with the house in need of a good clean after the weekend, it was enough to make me go ‘humph.’
This situation began to trigger a glass-half-empty reaction in me. I could only see the problem and the inconvenience, and I was stressed by having to deal with it.
However, after about 30 minutes, I pulled myself together and accepted the situation. And by shifting things around to accommodate cleaning the house myself by lunchtime (no small undertaking), everything returned to normal. The viewings were able to proceed with me feeling content that the house was being seen at its best.
Now, this is a very minor example of how an ‘off day’ can be triggered. Yet the reaction, when things don’t go to plan, can be mirrored in many situations, including more significant ones.
What is an Opti-Realist?
You would have to be a saint to be optimistic all the time. After all, this is life and s**t happens.
We all get days where everything seems to conspire against us, making our optimism flag. These days can turn into lengthy periods that severely test anyone’s optimism, particularly when facing major things, such as ill-health, divorce, or job loss.
Personally, I have no time or patience for out-and-out Pessimism. I subscribe instead to Opti-Realism.
I believe that by identifying and acting as an Opti-Realist, your natural inclination towards the positive is highlighted. But it also allows for a little negativity as and when life throws you a curveball or a challenge arises.
By taking this type of stance, a dose of realism now and then encourages you to re-centre, take stock, and alter your plans accordingly.
How to Become an Opti-Realist
Interestingly, by describing, believing, and acting as an Opti-Realist, you eventually make it so. And this becomes the true version of yourself.
By allowing room for the frailty of a little pessimism, you subdue performance pressure and enable expectation realignment. But you are also leaving the door open to re-adopt your more natural positive optimism when the challenge has subsided or you have it back under control.
In other words, the glass may not always be half full, but it can turn oblique and await straightening up, ready to receive more.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Let me know in the comments below!
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