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Optimistic Realist or Realistic Optimist: Which is Better?

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OptimistPreviously I asked Realist or Optimist: Which is better? Those of you who know me know that if I have an either/or choice I’ll usually pick both- why limit yourself. So it’s better to be both a realist and optimist. So should you be a realistic optimist or an optimistic realist?

To me the answer is clear- a realistic optimist. why? because to succeed you want to be optimistic, you want to go as far as possible. The realism only adds a little of reality to make sure you are a little grounded. Why shouldn’t you be an “optimistic realist”? Because then your base is realism, which limits you. It’s not a bad way to go but the other way you can gain that extra edge.

Is this all symantics? Maybe. But the point is that you should try to be an optimist but don’t go overboard.

photo credit: Kevin

Realist or Optimist: Which is better?

People’s mindset matters. Here you’ll see how.

Some people are optimists and everything looks rosy to them. Always. They are even optimistic when crossing a street full of traffic. “The traffic will stop for me” they say. Some times they’re right and they cross safely. But other times they get hit by a truck.

Other people are realists. Realists see things in a grounded way. They see the traffic and know that it will be a while until the traffic clears. They’ll wait and wait because their prepared to until the traffic subsides. Then they cross.

Pessimists, by the way, aren’t in this discussion. Once they spot a street that needs crossing they just turn back and give up because they know streets have traffic and they dont want to get hit by a truck.

So what’s better realists or optimists? Both (or none if that’s how you look at it). Being overly optimistic can get you in trouble as you’re not grounded and your projects fail as you don’t anticipate setbacks. Being overly realistic doesn’t let you meet your full potential because you may be limiting your potential.

So how would a person who is both realistic and optimistic cross the street? He’d figure out when traffic is lite and start waving a sign- “I’m crossing- dont hit me” he’d go cautiously across all the lanes to safety.

The question now is, should you be an optimistic realist or a realistic optimist?