Realistic Optimism for Skeptics and Grumps

Smarter and Harder

One thing every optimist is used to hearing is a false comparison to being "realistic"

After pointing out a negative thought or offering an alternative, you may hear someone say, "I'm not a pessimist, I'm a realist."

It's a common refrain, and it implies that optimism is inherently unrealistic. That somehow a negative attitude is more likely to be right.

But the delightful truth is that there's nothing in the world more realistic than optimism.

The mind is incredibly powerful, and can go to astounding lengths to realize the world you envision.

If you believe that the world is bad, people are bad, and only things will happen, your mind will be very efficient in proving that view right.

But, if you focus instead on gratitude, possibilities, and the things that you love, your perspective will shift to make more room for those in your life.

So whether you choose to look at things positively or negatively, there will always be a degree of realism to it.

Of course, either an optimist or a pessimist can become unrealistic by over-generalizing and ignoring their reality.

And it's true that some bad things will always happen, no matter how positive your attitude is.

Even so, a positive attitude always builds a positive life, making realistic optimism one of the most rational things there is.

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