Most people imagine that there are two ways of looking at the world- either through the eyes of an optimist or pessimist (I confess I once used to think that way).
You see several authors of self-help books, life coaches, pastors and speakers have written tons of books, articles, blog posts and also went ahead and organized sold-out seminars and T.V shows where it is said that to be successful you have to start from having a Positive Mental Attitude.
Hence using these broad categorization, you are labeled as either suffering from paranoia where you imagine that life is a battlefield and the odds are stacked against you. Perhaps you operate from a scarcity mentality where everyone is in competition for these scarce resources with you.
Or maybe on the flip side you are an optimist afflicted with inverse-paranoia and imagine that the Universe is actually conniving to please you and grant your every desire. You see the world as either being abundant in its opportunities and everyone can collaborate with each other.
Is either one right or wrong? That’s the million-dollar question. Do only the optimistic people succeed in life? Or can the ones who are cynical and have a more pessimistic view on life succeed also? Are there only two possible answers to the question- Is the glass half-full or half-empty?
From my present knowledge of the world and observation of people from various walks of life, I think anyone can succeed in spite of these labels and categorization if they are willing to put in an effort to actualize their dreams.
Just because everyone says you must have a positive mental attitude and be an optimist doesn’t mean you cannot succeed if you can’t help but notice that the glass is half empty.
Optimism is great if you are a faith-based pastor, a motivational public speaker or even a serial entrepreneur. But there are also times when pessimism counts. Take for example you are the lending officer at a commercial bank or a risk manager at an insurance firm, your job will be to look for what could go wrong and carefully evaluate the mitigating circumstances surrounding every business proposal for a loan you approve of. Just having a positive mental attitude won’t help you do a great job at that.
Imagine if you are a lawyer and your job is to prosecute corrupt politicians and civil servants, I can’t imagine how your positive mental attitude and optimistic view of the world and it’s inhabitants will assist you in building a credible case against the defence team.
So perhaps rather than belabour yourself over whether you are a pessimist or an optimist, perhaps it is better if you focus more on accepting yourself and go about figure out the best strategy of how to achieve your set goals rather than just faking optimism.
If you are a natural born cynic, and can’t help your view of the world by noticing the bad, cracked and half-empty glasses around you; just find a job or career path that would ensure that you fully maximize these so called “defects” or “disadvantages” as they have been labelled.
Who you are is not a Democracy. It is not subject to popular opinion or a voting system. Do what you want, not what others want you to do. Be who you are, not what others expect you to be. Whenever we are willing to listen to the criticism of others, there is never a shortage of volunteers.
A better way to succeed is to decide to embrace yourself fully just the way you are and decide consciously on which aspect of your life requires an improvement, then get to work on it.
By doing so, you will avoid the negative emotions of guilt, anger, self-loathe and regret of not being able to meet the expectations of others, or struggle constantly to fit into their limited labels. Life isn’t black or white, it is more accurately several shades of gray.
Be a realist instead and see the world as what it is and see yourself for who you truly are- an enigma that is ever evolving.
1. Are all the rich or successful people you know, optimistic by nature?
2. Do you know of any cynical successful person?
3. Are you an optimist, pessimist or realist?
4. Can you be pessimistic sometimes or on some issues and optimistic at other times?
5. Is the glass below half-full or half-empty?
Please leave your answers in the comment box below. Have a wonderful week ahead!