Optimism vs realism - Which is better?

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Which is better?

Is it better to become an optimistic person who sees everything positively?
Or is it better to become a realist who only uses facts to make judgements?

Let me first begin by saying that many people abuse the two different ways of thinking. Some people become overly pessimistic that they give upn on their goals while claiming that they are being realistic.

Some other people do nothing , exert no effort then claim that they are being optimistic. Those people can also look at life from a very shallow and unrealistic angle then claim that they are being positive.

Both of those groups are wrong simply because they don't correctly represent either optimism or realism.

Case study - Steve jobs

Steve jobs has changed the world. No one can deny it but do you know that up till today people still talk about Steve jobs' reality distortion field?

People created this term to describe Steve Jobs' disregard for reality. Steve Jobs used to ask people to do impossible things, he had impossible goals and used to used to push people beyond the limits of reality.

And the result?
He changed the world!

We never heard of the people who said that Steve jobs had a reality distortion field but we all heard of jobs. In other words it seems that the ones who want to be realistic are the ones who have a reality distortion field because they can't really see the realistic possibilities in life.

Under the desire to be realistic many people fail to see the opportunities in life and the extent to which our perceived reality can be changed, See how your beliefs create your reality.

What is reality?

Will smith once said in an interview that the idea of having a piece of metal fly in the sky wasn't realistic but it happened. We all know about Airplanes and they now exist because someone saw a reality different than the one others saw.

In other words each person sees his own reality then claim that it's the true reality but throughout history many successful people have shown that this reality many people are living isn't actually real.

Here is a quote by Steve Jobs that describes this concept perfectly:

“When you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and you're life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money. That's a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it… Once you learn that, you'll never be the same again.”

The conclusion here is. yes being realistic is as a good thing as over optimism can mislead people however part of being realistic is seeing those opportunities that so many people ignore because of believing that they are impossible.

Imagine the guy who invented the radio or the one who invented the TV became realistic (the way people define it)?
Imagine Henry Ford trying to feed horses in a better way so that they become faster instead of inventing cars?

Once you see reality correctly optimism and realism won't be different things but they will be one thing because the world we are living in is full of infinite possibilities that many people mistakenly describe as unrealistic.

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Want to know more?

Why do most people live a twisted reality

How do people twist the facts to support their beliefs

How incorrect perception affects self confidence

How perception affects the behaviour

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