Are You An Optimist or A Pessimist. Is One Better Than the Other?

“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty “

– Winston Churchill

Which one are you, I wonder?

Can we be a bit of  both depending on our mood or our circumstances? Or is optimism something  that can weather the storm, whether it’s a sunny or a rainy day of life.

Is an optimist someone that we would consider just to have a more consistent mood no matter what.

An optimist, when faced with a problem, tends to find the upside to the situation and starts  figuring out ways to solve that problem, or ways to turn it around.

A pessimist, however,  immediately throws up their hands, and says  “I can’t do it…waste of time to try anymore!”

Or they will distance themselves from the problem, pretending it doesn’t matter. This is denial, and it never works.

The person who is is usually considered by many, to be the world’s foremost expert on optimism, Dr. Martin Seligman, says everyone is born optimistic.

But, 95% of grownups – believe it or not- are pessimists, not optimists.  What goes wrong?  Some   people see the glass as half empty.  Others see it as half full. 

I really think we tend to be an optimist sometimes and a pessimist other  times. 

A lot of times things turn out according to how we feel about the situation.  If somebody feels like something will go well or feels optimistic about it, it usually seems to go well.    

The same is true of the other way.  When someone feels like something will go badly, it tends to do just that. It’s like a prediction and the action is following the thought.

One indication that you are dealing with a pessimist is in a simple phrase they will use in stressful situations – “I can’t” . The pessimist is helpless, powerless and it shows in that response.

The optimist responds with – “I won’t” . The optimist is making a conscious choice, not just reacting.

An optimist prefers to think more positively. We can focus on what we really want, not what might happen to us.

Here are some ideas about optimists

• Optimists achieve their goals because they never give up

• Optimists attract Success naturally

• Optimists are happier, healthier and more energetic than pessimists

• Optimists are easier to be around, inspiring people around to be positive

• Besides the above, optimists lead higher quality of life.

( I think that last quality is because maybe when we are in an optimistic mood,  we are more appreciative of what we have at any point in time and therefore, we can feel happier – and that leads to a higher quality of life, because one is more satisfied –  even though a person can still be ambitious – one is more satisfied at any point in life.)

Both qualities that I just mentioned are all probably true just by the fact that optimists’ positive thinking makes challenging situations – “not that bad” after all.

Now true optimism is not sitting back, thinking positive thoughts, and hoping everything will turn out all right.

  It’s how you see the world, positively rather than negatively. You face each situation, each problem, and each occasion with a positive attitude; and you always look forward to the “benefits” you will derive from it.

You have a choice. 

“Change your thoughts and change  your world,” said Norman Vincent Peale.

Really , our attitude is a conscious choice.

  If we choose pessimism, we’re choosing to see the down side of every situation, regardless of any positive input that might show itself. We could be prone to judge people unfairly, and be pretty much unhappy with life, and maybe ourselves as well.

On the other hand, if we are a bit more  optimistic, we’re empowering ourselves to see the positive side of each challenge, and to see the good in people.

We’ll probably be more likely to take action to further improve our life and be with people who we care about and who care about us.

Life just gets better with that half-full glass rather the half empty one.

Choosing to be more optimistic and positive does not mean we won’t encounter difficult times, trauma, loss and many challenges.  What it does  mean is that we will have more power on our side to help us through those tough times.     

We’ll bounce back faster and make better choices, rather than letting life just wash over us.    We’ll learn to be proactive, instead of reactive.

If you’re not naturally optimistic and positive, don’t worry. You can learn how to use your  thoughts to change your attitude and emotions. 

It’s not always easy though I have to say. Sometimes it’s up and down.  Some days will be very challenging, but you can do it.

Improving your optimism rates is really one of the most important actions you can take to improve your life.

It’s like your mental immune system. But it does  take a little – and sometimes a lot – of work.

It takes deliberate, conscious awareness of your thoughts and feelings. And then acting on that awareness.

Here are a few tips to get you started.

Every time you think a negative thought, stop right there and flip it around to find  the positive aspect of the situation. Do this each time and build on it.  It CAN  become a habit to be positive and upbeat about your life.

Practice your ‘positive thinking’ and your ‘positive feeling’ .  Give yourself permission to think new thoughts and feel new feelings.

Sometimes it might be even easier to do a bit of journaling.

On one side of a piece of paper you might write how you feel about situation with your previous or habitual pessimistic attitude,  and then on the other side  pretend like you’re a optimistic person and write down how do you think an optimistic person would handle the situation.

That exercise can help to expand your mind and just help you get a feel of what it would be like to think a bit more optimistically.

Maybe no matter how positive we are,  life is going to be up and down sometimes…

sometimes we feel happy, 

… and  sometimes we feel sad.

Sometimes the news or world events or just things going on in our everyday life can throw us into a funk or a pessimistic mood.

But with a bit of an optimistic spirit,  it can just make life go a little more smoothly.

How do you handle your ups and downs? Do you feel like you’re more of a pessimistic person or an optimistic person?

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About stefsvoice

Hi! I'm an American voice actress based in England. I believe wholeheartedly in the power of positive thinking, meditation and positive affirmations. I'm also a meditation/affirmations teacher on Insight Timer. That is why I started "Happy Thoughts", the Positive Affirmations and Audio stories podcast/blog. It's a quick burst of positive energy to help keep us on the right track. I've also have recorded affirmations, meditations andstories on Bandcamp - - for on-the go/anytime encouragement.
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