Friday, July 13, 2012

Is Pessimism More Realistic Than Optimism?

Conrad - aka the The Old Fossil - posed an interesting question for this week's LBC topic. Everyone knows the old glass half full or half empty question.  Trouble is, some people don't even have a glass.

So - it it more realistic to view the world in a positive light or vice versa?  Like most intellectual exercises there is no pat answer.  Obviously for some folks optimism works whereas for others pessimism makes more sense.  The optimist - says the pessimist - is destined to be repeatedly disappointed while the optimist says to the pessimist you will forever be pleasantly surprised!

The realist simply says you'll both get what you expect out of life if you put in the effort.  Oh - that's a good one -  the very broad-brushed term "effort". Truth is, if you work hard, treat others fairly and the way you wish to be treated, you'll probably achieve a fair degree of success in your life.  Now the definition of that success is purely personal and subjective.  If money is your motivator, simply check your bank account. If - like most people - you judge yourself on a broader landscape, simply examine the results piece by piece.

Some judge themselves harshly,  That is their perogative.  The pessimist sees himself/herself in a much harsher light than does the optimist in my opinion. But both are constantly seeking to improve. The pessimist can seem like a harsher critic to others but that isn't necessarily true.  I find the pessimistic approach to criticism much more direct - with optimistoc criticism you have to read between the lines to get at the heart of the critique. The pessimist lays it out in clear, concise terms.

So the answer to Fossil's question is yes.  And no. The Fossil himself is essentially an oiptimist most of the time. I hope he isn't too disappointed by the responses to his query. I suspect he'll be pleasantly surprised.

Is the Boss an optimist or a pessimist?? 


Does it get more optimistic than an 80 plus year old singing the optimist's anthem?

The ultimate pessimist? 

Please check the other members of the LBC and see their take on this weeks topic -  Anu, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, ocdwriter, Padmum, PaulThe Old Fossil, Will and Ramana.


  1. We are in agreement, there is no pat answer. To me, pessimism and optimism per se are not more or less realistic, they are actually the attitude brought to the moment. That moment will play out as it will, but where it leads may indeed be influenced by that attitude.

    Pessimism is an energy drain for me, but may not be for others.

  2. I'll go for the Impossible dream any day. What a voice for a man of 80+, it is just amazing.

    1. That's my fave male vocalist. Saw him in concert once, he sang Impossible Dream acapella - place held 4500 or so, it was absolutely amazing - people in the lobby could hear him

  3. Yes, it would appear that I collided with Conrad!

    Boss will be boss. He can neither be pessimistic nor optimistic. Otherwise he cannot be boss.

    Seeing oneself harshly is not being pessimistic. In my book it is being practical.

    I rest my case.

  4. And try this for being realistic.

  5. As you've posted a song from The Boss - I'll mention that I have friends going to see him play tonight.
    Yay - they're seeing Bruce Springsteen.
    Boo - It's likely to be a quagmire.
    So..... I'll plump for the Yay side.