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Optimism Vs. Pessimism


An optimist and a pessimist both have their ups and downs. An optimist, when facing disappointment, might be disillusioned as he or she was expecting better. A pessimist, on the other hand, might have been expecting things to go wrong and isn’t as shaken up when they do. There isn’t really a wrong or a right path; you have to decide as an individual, which path is best for you.

A Comparison

A major difference between an optimist and a pessimist would be element of control. Optimists won’t usually allow past experiences to dictate their decisions or their outlook; it can be said that optimists are harder to condition. In contrast, pessimists will think they are learning from their past mistakes and will thus avoid the same hazardous situations. They will be more likely to relinquish control of outcomes, and take on the mindset of a victim; whatever happens will happen, with or without their consent.

Whereas optimists are confident, forward-looking, and decisive, pessimists are the opposite. An optimist is so because he or she believes that they can do something. They are free of the constraints of past errors and just simply believe in their ability. However, pessimists tend to think that they are slaves to circumstance, and thus do nothing to change the course of their lives, thinking it is not their ability to do so.

Realistic Optimism

An interesting study showed that adopting an overly optimistic mindset while predicting the future has a direct correlation to an increased risk of disability as well as early death. Basically, as the rate of overestimated contentment in the future got higher, so did the percentage of disability reports and death risk. Another study conducted by researchers show us that both optimists and pessimists are able to use their own outlooks to get ahead. The research was carried out by creating two groups, and telling each to think either positively or negatively. The study showed that people will more successful at working out solutions when they were following their natural instincts to be either optimistic or pessimistic.

These studies lead us to believe that it might be more advisable not to adopt either extreme; instead, be a realistic optimist who is neither too confident nor too insecure and is able to study situations objectively. Although you might be able to better operate while acting as a pessimist or an optimist, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best outlook for you to adopt.