A man rock climbing, under an outcrop. Optimistic vs Pessimistic Mindset

Optimistic versus Pessimistic Mindset

What they mean

Being optimistic or pessimistic can be the difference between success and failure. It’s not just about having a positive mindset or not, it’s about the belief and the hope of how things will turn out.

Optimism is having a brilliant or bright outlook for the future. Pessimism is having a bleak or grimmer outlook for the future.

Having a positive mindset is related to being optimistic and seeing the positive in all that occurs. It doesn’t mean that we always like what happens but it does mean that we can choose to respond to it in a way that provides us with solutions to make it better next time round.

On the other hand, being a pessimist is much simpler – we take what happens to us at face value and accept it as the expected outcome; it is what we expected anyway.

Being Pessimistic

There are benefits to being optimistic just as there are benefits to being pessimistic. As a pessimist you are less likely to be disappointed because you are not expecting any amazing outcomes; you expect to get what you usually get or that things don’t always work out as you want them.

You don’t expect things to improve greatly but instead you feel that if anything is going to happen it will and you resign yourself to that, as you continue to live life the way it is. Your daily life is the way it has always been and you don’t expect much change to it.

Infact the fact that it’s not likely to change much also brings you some relief, because you know what tomorrow will bring and there’s not likely to be any surprises. And that’s a good thing, as far as you are concerned.

You look at your environment, economy and politics and all you see is that things are getting worse rather than better. It would take someone exceptional to make that happen.

If you were to decide to ask your boss for a raise, you’d consider asking them for a raise but you wouldn’t expect them to give you one, even though you feel you deserve it. So even if you do take the step to ask for a raise you don’t expect to get it.

Life is not going to change and you hope that it wont get any worse.

Being Optimistic

As an optimist you see the world as a possibility of making things happen. There’s opportunity at every turn and you know and believe that it’s there; oddly enough you seem to find those opportunities.

Being an optimist is not about things not working out but how they are responded to. Even if failure does occur in a venture it is only a turning point, a point to bounce back from, having learned from that last failure.

But failure is not failure; it’s a learning curve to getting things right and that is not “going to happen” but it’s rather happening continuously.

The circumstances we live in or what is happening around the world does not influence our belief in the outcome of things. We believe that things can be better and the possibilities and opportunities to make it that way are many.

When our expectations are not met we take it as we would any other failure – move on and do what must be done next to make “it” happen, whatever “it” may be.

The Realist

I want to touch on this mindset briefly, because it does form part of the mindset in the world.

As a realist you see things as they are – what you see is the reality of things and only hard work will make things change. The money you have in the bank is the money you have and there’s no more coming, unless you work for it.

To get ahead in life you have to work for it, it will take effort and hard work. Your place in the world is the one you have and it will not change, unless you decide to make that change. But as things are, with all the responsibilities you have it’s not likely that will happen.

Too much is depending on you. Taking any risk can lead to harm and so, that is out of the question – it’s better to leave things as they are deal with life as it is, rather than making any change that can make things worse.

At least this way you are not going to have any disappointments.

Who are you

Of course, the above statements are generalised and I’m sure as an individual you can add something or disagree with some of those statements.

But you will fall into one of them and people around you will tell you that you are one of them, even though not exactly but close enough.

How you respond to those statements will tell you more about who you are than what’s been written above. Your response, the words you use, shows who you are.

More importantly it tells you what you believe about your future and what your beliefs are about your future and the outcome of your life. It doesn’t matter whether you agree with me or not, the fact is that your words are your own – you are the one that would utter them.

Which one of the above do you TRULY feel you fit into? How do you respond to that?

Why to be Optimistic

Only one of the above mindsets will help you out in life – being optimistic. It’s not easy and I admit that at times it’s difficult to maintain when things are going downhill and getting worse.

The chances of disappointment are higher, because you will be working towards a life you want rather than the way it is, you are more likely to take risks (small or big) and what you expected wont always be what actually happens. The way you respond to it, however, is what makes the difference.

You wont quit! You will find another way.

The reasons why you think the way you do now, are due to the beliefs you hold in your subconscious mind. Those beliefs can only be changed by deciding to make a change, knowing what that change will be and then taking action towards that change that you want to see in your own life.

Will it be easy? I’m sure you’ve realised that the answer is no. It will take effort and a few setbacks but if you continue and persist, you will get there. It’s just a matter of time.

In a past article on luck, we talked about how it turns out that people that believe that they are lucky tend to be lucky. Those that don’t tend not to be. The difference is their mindset. The ones that believe are lucky expect good results, they are optimistic. They expect to win. When they don’t it doesn’t matter, they move on to the next one.

Being Optimistic

With each failure we build knowledge and understanding of how to do it better the next time. This raises our expectations for the next outcome. It’s not about the success or the failure – it’s about the learning and that next time it will be better.

Consequently we become a better version of ourselves than we were yesterday. A better boss becomes a leader, a better father, a better mother, a better sibling, a better employee…

Being an optimist does not only benefit you, it benefits those around you. You and others may be averse to that change at the start but the benefits will become, slowly, evident.

No change is ever easy. But few changes are as beneficial as seeing things from a brighter perspective rather than a bleak perspective, believing that things will work out rather than not.

It is a choice and one you must make for yourself. What will it be?

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
Winston Churchill

Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.
Marcus Aurelius

Pessimism never won any battle.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Photograph by: Hu Chen on Unsplash

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