Optimism is something that is born with every one of us. It’s a major role player in the good we desire and in the search for ourselves. In fact, us humans are more optimistic about ourselves than we are realistic, even when the probability of bad things happening to us is pretty high.
We always tend to be optimistic about our future, and that actually helps us go through life with hope.

We are confronted many times during our lives, with the decision of being realistic or optimistic, unknowing that that decision can completely change the outcome of an event, and ultimately the results in our lives.
By analyzing optimistic and realistic people, you’ll notice that the optimists generally get everything that they want and they seem to recover from problems in faster and easier ways. Answers and solutions seem to fall right into their lap, simply because they expect things to happen...
But there’s more... Optimistic people, are more likely to get a promotion and better opportunities in life, simply because optimists are socially more interesting people, than realistic people. They are more creative, have a better sense of humor, they expose themselves more, risk more, and thus receive more.


Does being realistic pay off?

Realistic people strongly believe that “the secret to happiness lies in having low expectations, and receive surprises rather than disappointment”.
I think that people that like to keep it real, keep expectations low to avoid getting hurt when something doesn’t happen as they planned. They prefer to keep in control of everything, thus, nothing is lost, and nothing changes. If something positive happens out of this low expectation, it will be welcomed and they’ll be happy. Despite this being a very good theory, it’s also completely wrong for four reasons:

  1. People with high expectations always feel better
    Whatever happens, whether it is a success or a failure, people with high expectations always feel better. The way we feel when something positive happens depends solely on the personal perspective about it. When someone with high expectations reaches a certain goal or produces good results, they attribute the merit to themselves and maintain high expectations about future events. When they fail, they don’t blame themselves and simply acknowledge that something unexpected happened, and try do better next time.
    When someone with low expectations fails, they attribute the blame to themselves, and when they succeed they underestimate the value of the event by believing that it happened by luck or random probability.
    Here’s a good example of how two different people with different levels of optimism can interpret a same event in completely different ways. Optimists see everything clearly and with motivation, whilst realists seem to banalize everything.
  2. Anticipation makes us happier
    Whatever the outcome, the mere act of anticipating makes us happier about something. Whilst waiting for a positive event to happen, the excitement during the wait and anticipation of the event actually makes the the event itself more special. This is because when we have the habit of planning what to do, when the event happens, it will sustains us in a positive frequency. A brief example of this is when we imagine what we’d do if we won the lottery. A more practical and measurable example is why people prefer Fridays to Sundays. It’s a curious thing because friday is a work day, and Sundays are days to laze around, take long walks, rest... and from a practical point of view, people should feel happier on Sundays. But instead, people actually prefer Fridays, due to the excitement and anticipation about Saturday. On Sundays, the only anticipation created is related to the work week ahead.
  3. Optimism produces results
    Being optimistic brings about positive results. The belief in winning, the anticipation of an event, of what one can become, have or achieve... transforms optimism into vehicle riding towards happiness. It makes people try harder and become less likely to respond to negative information, facing reality in a completely different manner.
  4. Optimism changes reality
    By changing subjective reality, optimism also changes objective reality because it changes our perception on events and outcomes. It acts as new reality because it becomes self fulfilling through universal laws such as the law of attraction.

The choice to become optimistic

Optimists in general are people who expect more from life. It gives them more pleasure in living and in well-being. However realistic people are people with a slight depressive tendency, and don’t enjoy life to it’s fullest.
On the other side, there’s the pessimistic group, who have a very low level of optimism, and generally construct and anticipate a future with negative events, which, in the end, don’t really turn out to be that bad as they anticipate.

There’s no real secret on how the change is possible, but the only advice I can give is to try see things with a different perspective. The most important step to take is to choose to “become” the optimist, because it’s a completely voluntary process which works from the inside out, but in which, in order to see progress, it is necessary to imagine a different reality and believe that that reality is possible.

Author's Bio: 

Roger Mac is a life coach and entrepreneur, who has helped thousands of people all over the world to achieve their highest goals and reach their maximum potential.
His company which focuses primarily on well-being and personal growth, manages clients and programs from all over the world, and is directed primarily to the English and Portuguese speaking markets.
He is the founder of the personal development blog "Becoming Matters", and of the peak performance personal development program "the Quantum Combination".