3 Men walk into a bar, the Optimist, the Pessimist, and the Realist…

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” ~~~ William Arthur Ward

Which do you choose to be today?

07 Optimist and RealistI’m not sure I completely agree with Mr Ward. Do you?

For three weeks I’ve been writing about being optimistic. There are definite advantages. Martin Seligman, PhD., in his book Learned Optimism describes the differences and the outcomes of choosing an optimistic outlook over the pessimistic. Optimists tend to live longer, earn more, and obviously enjoy more of this thing called Life.

If you haven’t read his book the main premise is that optimism can be learned. It may be that some people are genetically optimistic, but this does not mean that someone who has lived a pessimistic life cannot learn how to be optimistic. He also describes how we as parents and teachers can help the kids in our lives to be more optimistic and how we can become more optimistic as adults in our work world and families. There are some specific exercises he recommends – things to do to retrain our minds. Considering what there is to be gained more joy, freedom, friends, more pleasure in living, and even more money, and what is at stake (loss of the above) is there any good reason to stay pessimistic?

Ah, but Chucky raises his little head and tells me that being optimistic is really just pie in the sky, Pollyanna (remember that movie?), foolishness. He cries out to me that being pessimistic is just being more realistic. But is it?

I’d like to offer that the pessimist complains and does very little to make a difference. It’s often called “Victim”. Whereas, the optimist and the realist take what is and make something good come from it. The optimist sees things as they are and expecting that things can be made better, adjusts to create a better future.

If you haven’t read the book “Learned Optimism” and you want to create a more optimistic outlook on life – get the book and read it. Take time to do the exercises contained therein. I know from personal experience, they can make a difference.

By the way – there were only 2 men who walked into the bar…


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