Becoming A Realistic Optimist

Jul 23, 2020 | Positivity | 2 comments

Incorporating Both Positivity And Practicality Into Your Thinking

Here’s the thing about positive thinking – it tends to be lumped into the same category as harmful optimism.

There’s nothing wrong with constantly believing in yourself and looking at the bright side of things, however, thinking too positively to the point that you overestimate yourself, as well as your chances of success, is bound to do more harm than good. For one thing, you might end up underestimating or even downright ignoring the risks involved in a certain venture. Moreover, it can lead you into toxic situations that you’ll ultimately find difficult to get out of.

This is the reason why positive thinking needs to be grounded in practicality; you need to think the best of things without falling into delusions that might prove to be self-destructive someday.

This is where realistic optimism comes in.

To quote an article in the Harvard Business Review by Heidi Grant, Ph.D., “Realistic optimists believe they will succeed but also believe they have to make success happen through things like effort, careful planning, persistence, and choosing the right strategies.”

Simply put, realistic optimism means positive thoughts that are grounded in reality, as well as the circumstances that you find yourself in.

Becoming a realistic optimist is rather challenging but make no mistake, it can be done. Here are the two best ways – recommended by experts and industry professionals – that will help you incorporate both positivity and practicality into your mindset.

Always Consider The Possible Challenges

A positive mindset must be combined with an honest evaluation of the obstacles and challenges that you might encounter in your attempt to reach your goals. Setting your sights only on your desired outcome means that you lose out on the many opportunities that could have made achieving your goal easier and more straightforward. More importantly, you find yourself constantly adjusting and changing your situation to fit your narrative, rather than the other way around.

Pro Tip: Have a goal in mind but don’t let that stop you from taking advantage of opportunities that come your way. Instead of seeing only your desired outcome, make sure to consider and carefully evaluate the other things that you encounter in the process too.

Create Achievable Goals

There’s nothing wrong with dreaming big but your goals still have to be grounded in reality. Many fall into the trap of creating lofty objectives that may sound good, in theory, but are completely unreasonable and irrational. Naturally, having such goals results only in disappointment and feeling unmotivated. Additionally, setting goals that are neither realistic nor attainable can lead to psychological, mental, and emotional issues.

Pro Tip: Set goals that are S.M.A.R.T. – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. These criteria shouldn’t all be necessarily adhered to, however, you should undoubtedly consider them when creating your goals.

* * * * *

It’s good to be a positive thinker but keep in mind that positivity without a dose of reality will only lead to disaster. It can lead to you being unaware of the risks and challenges involved, as well as unprepared when facing obstacles.

On the other hand, having a positive yet practical mindset means that you’re set on your goals yet ready to take on whatever difficulties and crises that you encounter along the way. Now, doesn’t this sound like the best way to approach life?

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  1. Greg H.

    Wonderful and insightful article. I’d like to embody this for myself. Realistic optimist is a way to go, I appreciate the practical side to this knowing you have to be prepared as well of what may happen and regardless of what will happen you will carry on. Hoping this thought goes out to more people, this is definitely something that would be nice to share especially to the younger generation.

  2. Jasmine Hewitt

    you’re so right – it’s good to remain positive but keep all realism in play


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