Instead of labelling yourself as an optimist or a pessimist, you should be working towards developing a personality which takes into account a little bit of both.
New research has found “realistic optimists” have the most success in life – taking the positive attributes from ‘glass half full’ people, and the clear-eyed perspective of ‘glass half empty’ types.
According to the Huffington Post, realistic optimists have the best of both worlds to perform better at work without getting plagued by feelings of unhappiness.
Here are three ways you can work towards becoming a realistic optimist:
1. Have a positive attitude…
Sophia Chou, an organisational psychologist who presented her findings on realistic optimists recently, said optimists only allow themselves thoughts which make them feel good about themselves, while pessimists pride themselves on having a more truthful view of the world.
Because optimists believe they will succeed – by making it happen themselves through making an effort and careful planning – they recognise the need to give serious thought to any obstacles they might overcome. This positive preparation helps to make them for confident about success.
2. …but don’t forget a healthy dose of reality
Chou administered a number of personality tests to 200 colleage and graduate students in Taiwan and found optimists were sorted into two camps – the realists and the idealists.
People with a more realistic view choose accuracy over self-enhancement, she said. She also noted they got better grades, on average, than idealists, potentially because they didn’t delude themselves into thinking they could do well without working hard.
3. Have some self-control
Chou found the realistic optimists believed they have more self-control, as well as control over their interpersonal relationships.
“Every time they face an issue or a challenge or a problem, they won’t say ‘I have no choice and this is the only thing I can do.’ They will be creative, they will have a plan A, plan B and plan C,” Chou told Huffington Post.
It’s this attitude which allows them to stay happy about the future, even while recognising the challenges.
But there is one downside
Being a realistic optimist might also been you are more anxious than other people.
According to Chou, this is because they recognise the possibility of failure, rather than creating an illusion of eternal happiness and success.
In order to cultivate a rosy-but-realistic outlook, people should attempt to have a clear view of reality, but focus on what they can control in certain situations.