Monday, April 28, 2014

What kind of optimist are you?

Hello and happy Monday!

Last week I met (via email and internet) another LCSW, Andrea.  She shared with me her blog post from January where she referenced research on realistic vs idealistic optimism.
The idea as I read it is that people who are more realistic optimists are more successful than those that are idealistic.  It is an interesting distinction.  When I think about "why" behind pessimistic thinking I go back to the idea that it is about being prepared.  So many successful people in business are pessimists and the fact that they are always thinking about and planning for the worst case scenario helps them to handle challenges.  Being prepared goes back to our survival.  That being said, unfortunately those same people are prone to depression and negativity in other areas of their lives. 
I think about optimism and pessimism as the lens with which we see the world.  The lens needs to have some level of balance depending on the situation.  Any strength taken to an extreme ceases to be a strength and can ultimately be problematic.  Optimism is not an exception.  To an extreme one can find him or herself having unrealistic expectations and a lack of preparedness for things that can go wrong.
I have always been an optimist and I would have to admit not always realistic.  I married a pessimist and believe that as our marriage grew and we began to learn from each other, he started to see the world a bit more rosy and I started to see things from a more realistic point of view.  It's all about balance!  We both are much better off now then when we met.
I wanted to write about this information today because so many of us can become frustrated when we have unrealistic expectations and it isn't always so simple as "glass half full or glass half empty". 
We can be happy and optimistic while still being realistic.  Like most things in life, it is about balance.
Thank you Andrea for showing me your blog.
If you would like to check out Andrea's blog and the research findings you can go to the blog tab on her site and look for posting on January 20, 2014. Her website is
If you are seeing to increase your optimism or work on reducing stress, anxiety or depression - check out my website and please reach out any time!  I look forward to speaking with you!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Cara,

    Thanks for sharing my website with your readers. I like the point you make about the importance of developing a more balanced perspective. I too, used to be an idealistic optimist and had to learn to be more realistic, so I can relate!

    All the best,