The problem with realism is that it's unrealistic!
Realists spend all their time explaining why Soviet totalitarianism can't be overcome, why Arab peoples can never rise up to overthrow the repressive military dictatorships that rule them - until the day it happens, when they suddenly start explaining why it was inevitable all along.
The best attitude is neither so-called realism nor optimism, but rather an open-eyed hopefulness. By open-eyed, I mean no denial of what you can perceive to be true. But remember that the reality you can perceive in this or any moment does not rule eternity.
There is always hope, because things not only can, but will change; new things do happen. The wait may feel like "forever," but only until it is over. Jews waited hopefully for nearly 2000 years to be able to return to our homeland, against all the counsel of the realists. Can you imagine? 2000 years!
Your personal life is like that, too. The obstacles, patterns, and habits of your past can be terribly tenacious; you may knock your head against the wall for many years. Still, that does not mean you are condemned forever to endless repetition.
A hopeful attitude lets you stay alert for the smell of change in the air, for emerging opportunities - or, short of that, for the small cracks in the structure of things that you can claw and tear wider, alone or with your generation, to create the needed opportunities. Just when realism and optimism might both tell you not to bother - either because it's no use or because it's not necessary - that's when it's on you to work like hell for what you recognize is still merely a possibility - even though you know that you can't be sure this is the time yet.
Whether sooner or later, the time will come; the future is open. That much you can count on.
Being a realist is tough. 2/3's of mankind live in hunger squalor and hopelessness and most of the lucky 1/3 still live lives of quiet desperation. I am an optimist in that I believe that mankind can help itself but I'm a realist and know that it usually doesn't. What sustains me is that I work to make the world a little kinder, fairer, and more beautiful place than it would have been had I never been born. I think that is the duty of us in the fortunate 1/3.
Optimists see the brighter sides of things, but they can always have a realistic approach and still be optimistic. The optimist says, "Well, we've arranged a week at the beach but we can read or watch movies if the weather is bad,' and surely the realist would do the same thing.
The danger is in becoming too much of an idealist. The idealist says, "It's NOT going to rain. Take more sun tan lotion... we'll sleep on the beach even, we don't need a hotel!"
Optimisim is always better because it can affect the way you react to and handle things as they happen. Keep realism in your back pocket to be used as needed. Pessimism about something before it even takes place is never going to be helpful for you.
Being a pessimist means you fully expect negative things to happen. You live your life with the mindset of meeting dissapointment. Being an optimist, you expect good things, like chocolate, to happen. :)
I have to agree with you Hayyim ....If people's thought patterns were more about the "Can Do" then "Can't Do" and looking for those openings of possibilities then defeat ......alot would change
I agree! And a bit of lighthearted cynicism helps sometimes... I have a friend who, if he stubs his toe, he grins broadly (while in tremendous pain) and says he probably deserved it.
. Well I consider myself to be a realist. I am never disappointed by anything that ever happens, because I expect it to be perfect, and it always is. .
and finding the balance as marisha said means expected realistic things like chocolate to happen instead of meeting a celebrity. I meant to include that.
I think it's better to be a realist.. not a pessimist, but if you're optimistic then get let down it can be bad. I consider myself to be a realist
It's better to be a pessimist, because then you get more positive surprises. If you are an optimist, you only get disappointing surprises.
Personally I think it takes finding the balance to both.
Strange way to think of it...but I get your point...LOL