- Russ Sorrells
- Personal Development
Optimism vs. Pessimism
There are only two types of people in this world. The first type of people believes in a better future, positive outcome, the potential, finding a way, and hope. The second type of people are full of doubt, negativity, frustration, blame, anger, and general gloom. That is it, two types. Which are you? In my experience, most pessimists are absolutely clueless about their gloomy outlook. They fancy themselves as realists. After all, you can’t just go around fooling yourself into thinking everything is sunshine and rainbows. These are the folks that make a snarky comment about everything and justify it as just joking when challenged, or maybe they say “Hey, keeping it real.” They look at the beautiful sunset but can only see the power lines partially obstructing the view. They can’t help themselves. If there is an opportunity to cut someone or a situation down, they go for it. They use their negativity as a weapon to diminish others and bolster their own self-esteem. One of the biggest challenges for optimists is that the pessimists want them around because they make them feel better. As if being in the presence of an optimist will offset the negativity the pessimist brings into the world.
You might think I am being a bit harsh here, but hey “just keeping it real.” Hope for the sake of hope is not a good strategy. We can’t be naively optimistic because being so is just plain silly. Being overly optimistic is dangerous and should be avoided because it can lead to tragedy. On the other hand, optimism with action is a perfect recipe for success. This is especially true when coupled with consistency and persistence.
This view of the world is not something we are born with and can’t change. It is something that develops in us most often through our environment. The critical time for the development of our outlook is in our youth. We will typically adopt the view of our parents or other adult influencers. If you are a parent, you will most certainly understand that your kids model your every behavior. This includes the good and the bad. In my life, my mom was generally optimistic and in good spirits. She was that way no matter the challenges she was facing and there were plenty, with three boys, divorce, and financial challenges. I am grateful because I now realize how her optimism has become a part of who I am. The key takeaway in this article is that you can change your outlook. Had my mom been a pessimistic person, I still could have adjusted my outlook. To assume it is fixed is an excuse to not do the work. There is zero benefit to holding onto a pessimistic outlook when compared to all that is gained by having an optimistic view of the world.
If you are a pessimist, STOP! If you choose not to stop, then keep it to yourself. I will take sunshine and rainbows to gloom and storms every day. It is like choosing between love and hate. If you only have one life to live, would you prefer a life of love, or a life of hate? It is no different from choosing optimism versus pessimism. You have a choice. The legacy of this choice will live on in our children. The long-term success of a nation must be built on optimism. The current pessimistic undertones in our society will slowly poison the well of our better future. It will be better by just making the choice and taking the necessary action to ensure that it is better!