The Science of Achievement

For creative people with big, gutsy goals

Optimism Versus Pessimism: How to Strike the Crucial Balance

It’s the tension as old as time — the naïve Optimist versus the hesitant Pessimist. When these two mentalities butt heads, as they’re seemingly obligated to do, it can be difficult to decide which to listen to.

Woman thinking in nature.

The Optimist tells you anything is possible. Your goals, even the big ones you dream about but never mention to others, are well within your potential. The Optimist is right.

The Pessimist tells you the path looks steep and difficult. You’re likely to start slow, fail often, and discover your current level of skill is insufficient for the challenges you’ll face. The Pessimist is right.

This is why, if you want to reach your goals as an entrepreneur, blogger or writer, both optimism and pessimism are indispensable points of view.

Optimism without pessimism is a recipe for disappointment. When goals go unmet and progress seems microscopic, the Optimist will be shocked and dismayed, many times ready to give up.

Pessimism without optimism is a recipe for regret. For though, by never trying, Pessimists never fail, they also never succeed at the goals they dream about.

Optimists and Pessimists are roadkill that line the path to success. But when these two points of view make a baby, a powerful mindset is born.

Of course, I’m talking about realism, but what is a Realist?

Much like “activist” or “expert,” the title is often claimed by people who don’t deserve it — generally pessimists in disguise.

The goal of realistic thinking is to see things as they truly are.

The Realist knows success is possible and opportunity is everywhere, which gives her the courage to try new things. She also knows big goals, such as launching a business or writing a book, require hard, messy work, which prepares her to endure setbacks and disappointments.

Here are four thoughts you can repeat to yourself to strengthen the healthy balance of realism in your thinking:

  1. People accomplish amazing things every day, and they do it through consistent effort over time.
  2. I won’t be good at most things on the first try, but I can improve at almost anything through purposeful practice.
  3. I’m likely to start slow on my journey to success, but that’s normal. I can choose to press on. The experts I admire walked the exact same path and emerged victorious.
  4. Because I’m a unique human being, certain steps will be harder for me than for someone else, but that’s not bad. Everyone has areas of weakness, including the experts I admire. I also have areas of strength, where I’ll have a head start.

Want more empowering thoughts like these in your life? Your thoughts stem from what you believe. Give your mindset a tune up with my book QuitterProof: The 5 Beliefs of Highly Successful People.

You can download your free copy right here.

About Kyle Young

Kyle lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife Haley and their two puppies, Ralph and Nora. He's a writer, speaker, and consultant for online businesses that are committed to growth.

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