Success Advice

How to Identify Whether You Are a Pessimist, Optimist, or Realist

Dec 20, 2021

We all have our outlook on the world, and it can make a big difference in how we feel. Are you an optimist, pessimist, or realist? Have you ever considered what type of person you are?

In this article, I will explore what these terms mean, and why being able to identify and improve your outlook will help improve your life.

Why should you identify your outlook?

There are many benefits to being able to identify your outlook on life. Being self-aware is always a good thing because you can then make better decisions. Knowing what type of person you are can also help you better understand other people. 

The more you know about your outlook, the better you’ll be able to understand your strengths. You’ll also be able to work on improving your weaker areas.

What is a Pessimist, Optimist, or Realist?

There are many different ways to view the world around us. Some people see a glass of water as half-empty, while others see it as half full. Some will blame themselves when something bad happens, while others will automatically blame external factors.

Some can look on the bright side of things and find a silver lining in every cloud while others tend to worry about things that might never happen. Some can change their mind easily and adapt quickly to new situations. These different outlooks are often categorized as pessimism, optimism, or realism.

To define what that means, a pessimist believes that the future will be worse than the present or past. An optimist believes that the future will be better than the present or past, and a realist believes that the future might be better or worse than the present.

How to identify your outlook

A pessimist is someone who typically predicts the worst possible outcome in most situations. They always focus on the negative and look for what might go wrong instead of what might go right.

If you answered yes to 3 or more of these questions, then you might be a pessimist:

  • Do you often feel down or negative?
  • Do you find it difficult to be happy?
  • Are you always looking for the downside of every situation?
  • Do you often expect things to go wrong?

An optimist is someone who tends to expect the best possible outcome in most situations. They always focus on the positive and look for what might go right instead of what might go wrong.

If you answered yes to 3 or more of these questions, then you might be an optimist:

  • Do you consider yourself to be a happy person?
  • Do you find it easy to be positive?
  • Are you always looking on the bright side of every situation?
  • Do you often expect things to go well?

Realism is a middle ground between pessimism and optimism. Realists maintain that the glass is generally half full, yet they are ready to deal with setbacks. They make decisions based on facts, not emotions, and try to take everything into account.

If you answered yes to 3 or more of these questions, then you might be a realist:

  • Do you consider yourself to have a balanced approach to life?
  • Do you make decisions based on facts?
  • Do you tend to see the positive and negative aspects of every situation?
  • Do you expect things can either go wrong or go well depending on the situation?

Strengths and Weaknesses of Being an Optimist

Research studies have found that positive people are generally healthier and more resilient than their negative counterparts. Optimists tend to live longer, recover faster from surgery or illness, bounce back better from financial setbacks and have better social lives.

When optimists are too positive, however, it may lead to optimism bias, which could lead them to take unnecessary risks. They may underestimate the amount of time and effort required to achieve something.

Other benefits of being an optimist include being more likely to achieve their goals. Having a positive outlook also has been shown to attract other positive people into your life. Optimists are also more likely to find creative solutions to problems.

“In order to carry a positive action we must develop a positive vision” – Dalai Lama

Strengths and Weaknesses of Being a Pessimist

Being a pessimist means you are often prepared for when things go wrong. They often have a Plan B or even Plan C and are not afraid of change. Pessimists also tend to be more detail-oriented and can be very organized.

Pessimists may have low self-esteem and can be self-critical. They often see the negative side of things and believe that the future will be worse than the present or past. This outlook can prevent them from reaching their full potential and enjoying life, and can cause unnecessary stress. 

That being said, pessimists are often better prepared to handle difficult circumstances because they have learned to recognize when things aren’t as they appear. They are also less likely to be taken advantage of by others.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Being a Realist

The main benefit of identifying as a realist is that you’ll be able to see things for what they truly are and take everything into account before making a decision. Realists are generally very practical and down-to-earth people because they take everything into account before making decisions. They are often good at solving problems because they can weigh their options.

Realists are often not swayed by emotions and can be critical. They may also miss out on opportunities because they are too realistic about the risks involved.

Realists are often able to make decisions based on facts, not emotions. This makes them less likely to make mistakes and be prepared for anything that comes. They can see both the positive and negative aspects of every situation, which makes them flexible.

How to improve your outlook

The best kind of outlook would be to have a positive outlook on life, yet balanced with the practical sensibilities of a realist. This allows you to live life to the fullest while being prepared for potential setbacks. If you find that you are leaning too much to either side, it is time to make a change.

To become more optimistic, start looking for the good in every situation and train yourself to think positively. You can also practice visualization, which is the act of picturing yourself achieving your goals. Lastly, write a gratitude list and be thankful for the good things in your life, even if they are small.

To become more realistic, start taking everything into account when making big decisions and not letting your emotions get in the way. Make a list of all the positives and negatives about every situation. You can also practice mindfulness, which is the act of being aware of your thoughts and feelings in the present moment.

Whether you are an optimist, pessimist, realist, or somewhere in between, it’s important to realize your strengths and weaknesses. Knowing oneself and one’s skills and areas of improvement is important since it allows you to continually grow. You can always make a change and improve your outlook on life.

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