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[Commentary] Optimist. Realist. Pessimist. Who is the Winner?

A story of the only 3 types on people in this world.

There is half a cup of water on the table.

The optimist sees it as half full. The pessimist sees it as half empty. The realist sees it as half a cup of water on the table.

All 3 of them are have different views. All 3 of them are are correct.

The age-old debate of Optimist vs Pessimist has been warring and raging throughout the study of Psychology. As the world has progressed and people get smarter and more aware of their emotional self, a new contender emerges, and we call this person the Realist.

Society has bended our mindset and made us assume that Optimism is “THE” way the go. The happy path. The positive mindset that everything in the world is great. This is a social experiment to step back from the social norms and make us re-think this mindset, just for a while.

Suppose that optimists want to set up their own business and is optimistic about everything. They project sales to cover their capital costs within 1 working year, they expect to hire brilliant staff who provide excellent customer service, they believe that their marketing campaigns and promotions will boost sales of their invented products and services! With such a positive outlook, the optimists invest all their money and effort into the business idea. Sounds great?

Perhaps not.

Here comes the pessimist group, which refuses to set up their own business. We ask them why?

The pessimists points out that according to statistical data, only 1 out of 5 businesses make it through the first working year without going bust. Out of those who succeed this, a further 1 out of 5 of the “successful” business will outlast more than 3 years and eventually grow to become a respected organization. The pessimists lament that this means only 4% of entrepreneurs actually make it through 3 years without having to close down. They suggest that sticking to a stable, secure office job and saving money the normal way is a much better idea. They also point out that nowadays, it is hard to find good front-line customer service staff, and hiring staff with bad-attitude can cause the business to crash. Moreover, the market is so competitive (bla bla bla..)

At this point, some of you reading this have started to take sides with either the optimist or pessimist. The common argument is that without optimism, businesses would have never emerged. However, without pessimism, it is the reason why 96% of entrepreneurs truly failed their business within the first few years. (In fact, if the whole world was optimistic about business, who will be left to work?)

I will now introduce you to the Realist.

The Realist is a combination of the Optimist and Pessimist.

A group of realists want to set up their own business. They do believe in themselves, they aim to recover their capital costs over a period of 3 working years, they want to go through rigorous interviews and patience to find the right candidates for the job, they believe that through hard work, they can sell their products and services to people in due time. However, they are also aware that the market is extremely competitive, and the public might not like their products at all. They might also hire staff, who, give a good first impression but might slack off after. They are also aware that there are high risks involved with setting up a business and the chance of failure is always present.

After much contemplation, 2 scenarios emerge.

1) The realists will go forward and try their best to set up their business, but they are also mentally prepared to fail and tell themselves not to expect too much success from a first time business..

2) The realists decide that the business idea will not work after all due to many uncertain risks involved, and decide to look at other safer investment opportunities, or hold off the idea until a better economy arises.

This is the key strong point of Realists. They are can be optimistic, yet they are wary of the risks and dangers involved, like pessimists. They will work for their goals, but only if they have calculated the pros and cons and decide that it is smart and logical to do so. Yet at the back of their mind, even when failure comes knocking on their door, they will accept it as their miscalculation and error in judgement.

Optimists always initiate activities and get things done, but their downfall is that with greater expectations come greater disappointments. In fact, studies have shown that pessimists are born from optimists who have been disappointed too many times because of their high expectations from life.

Pessimists are always passive and cynical, but their perk is that they will never be disappointed and will always be surprised when the results turn out pleasant instead of their pre-conceived failure.

Realists know that life is tough, failure can happen, and expect it to come. But they are also prepared to face it.

To end off with a last note, our stand is that one should never be over-optimistic about everything, because remember, life is not a wish-granting factory nor a bed of roses. One should also never be over-pessimistic because if everyone thinks that way, great successes would have never been born. Realistic is the way to go.

Do you agree with this article? Share with us your thoughts and comments with The Influencer Media!

Jackie Loh Writer The Influencer Media

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