An optimist is neither naive, nor blind to the facts, nor in denial of grim reality. An optimist believes in the optimal usage of all options available, no matter how limited. As such, an optimist always sees the big picture. How else to keep track of all that's out there? An optimist is simply a proactive realist.
People who are too optimistic seem annoying. This is an unfortunate misinterpretation of what an optimist really is. An optimist is neither naive, nor blind to the facts, nor in denial of grim reality. An optimist believes in the optimal usage of all options available, no matter how limited. As such, an optimist always sees the big picture. How else to keep track of all that's out there? An optimist is simply a proactive realist. An idealist focuses only on the best aspects of all things (sometimes in detriment to reality); an optimist strives to find an effective solution. A pessimist sees limited or no choices in dark times; an optimist makes choices. When bobbing for apples, an idealist endlessly reaches for the best apple, a pessimist settles for the first one within reach, while an optimist drains the barrel, fishes out all the apples and makes pie. Annoying? Yes. But, oh-so tasty!
Are you an optimist or a pessimist?" "I can't remember. Which?" "Do you know what those words mean?" "Not really." "An optimist is positive and hopeful. A pessimist is negative and cynical." "I'm an optimist." "Well, that's good, because there's no irrefutable evidence. There's nothing that could convince someone who doesn't want to be convinced. But there is an abundance of clues that would give the wanting believer something to hold on to.
Jonathan Safran Foer
I am glad I am an optimist. The pessimist is half-licked before he starts. The optimist has won half the battle, the most important half that applies to himself, when he begins his approach to a subject with the proper mental attitude. The optimist may not understand, or if he understands he may not agree with, prevailing ideas; but he believes, yes, knows, that in the long run and in due course there will prevail whatever is right and best.
But I am an optimist about Britain; and the difference between an optimist and a pessimist is not that the optimist believes the world is wonderful and the pessimist believes it's beset by challenges; the difference is the pessimist believes we will be defeated by them; the optimist thinks the challenges can be overcome.
Be a balanced optimist. Nobody is suggesting that you become an oblivious Pollyanna, pretending that nothing bad can or ever will happen. Doing so can lead to poor decisions and invites people to take advantage of you. Instead, be a rational optimist who takes the good with the bad, in hopes of the good ultimately outweighing the bad, and with the understanding that being pessimistic about everything accomplishes nothing. Prepare for the worst but hope for the best - the former makes you sensible, and the latter makes you an optimist.
Although the optimist may be a little giddy when foreseeing the future, telling himself that it will all work out in the end when that isn't always the case, his attitude is more fruitful since, in the hope of undertaking a hundred projects, followed up by diligent action, the optimist will end up completing fifty. Conversely, in limiting himself to undertake a mere ten, the pessimist might complete five at best and often fewer, since he'll devote little energy to a task he feels to be doomed from the start.
Growing up in Israel, how can I not be an optimist? When you remember what Israel was 50 years ago and you see Israel now, one of the most successful countries in the world, stable, democratic, with an enormously stable economy despite everything that has happened in the global economy in the last few years, how can I not be an optimist?
Another way to be prepared is to think negatively. Yes, I'm a great optimist. but, when trying to make a decision, I often think of the worst case scenario. I call it 'the eaten by wolves factor.' If I do something, what's the most terrible thing that could happen? Would I be eaten by wolves? One thing that makes it possible to be an optimist, is if you have a contingency plan for when all hell breaks loose. There are a lot of things I don't worry about, because I have a plan in place if they do.
The optimist sees a light at the end of the tunnel, the realist sees a train entering the tunnel, the pessimist sees a train speeding at him, hell for leather, and the machinist sees three idiots sitting on the rail track. "The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; the pessimist fears this is true."
James Branch Cabell