Life is almost always about balance. A great example is being introverted vs. being extroverted. Not many people would argue that either is right all of the time. You need to be a bit of both if you want to be successful. The same is true when it comes to whether you should have optimism or be realistic.
I know I can hear you already screaming at me for implying that being optimistic is not always the best way. Let me first tell you this though; I am a confident person to the max. So I share your perspective but I also know how harmful it can be for a variety of reasons, and that is where we will start.
Why Optimism Can Kill
Optimism is great when it is used with the right amount at the right time. Otherwise, confidence can be damaging because it often can avoid reality.
For example, you could say that you are going to make the NBA but the reality may be that today you do not have NBA level skill. For that reason and that reason alone, you will never make it to the NBA.
If move forward telling yourself “I know I will make it” you put your dream at risk. People never say you this, and the reason is that it is much easier to live in a very optimistic world. It is also easy to live in a pessimistic world, but it is hard to live in a REAL WORLD.
When you face the reality that you are not as good as you need to be, you can make the changes you need to make today so you can continue to be optimistic in the future.
Optimism Kills Work Ethic
There are a lot of times when people should be working their butts off, but instead, they are just relaxing on what they think they will achieve in the future. If you are optimistic that the future will be just fine, it hurts your ability to put in the work today.
That is why you see many entrepreneurs who take off with the business once they get fired from their jobs. They are not optimistic at the moment! They are with about the fact that they have no income and that they need to make something work.
Their realism gets them off of their buts and into a place of discomfort. The discomfort forces growth and the growth is what allows you to achieve your dreams.
Optimism Works Well For The Future
If you are going to be optimistic use it for the future. Be confident for a beautiful tomorrow because of how hard you work today. That is how optimism pulls you forward in life. Use the rewards you seek tomorrow to motivate you to change and grow today.
Waking up and ignoring the facts of today is what many do. They see their bank account going down, and they are optimistic that tomorrow will be better. We reach a new year, and we are confident that the next one will be better but why?
What proof do we have that next year will be better other than our wishes. Everyone wants the next day and next year to be better. The truth though is that HOPE IS NOT A STRATEGY.
Hoping for better things is only deserved once you have made the adjustments for things to change. Going back to the NBA strategy, if you realized after a year you grew a few inches, you improved your ball handling, and you’re a much better perimeter scorer, you now have more reason to believe that you can make it to the NBA.
If you sat on the couch all year watching games on TV and continued to say I can and will do that one day, what do you have to be optimistic about? You don’t deserve the optimism that you are showing.
How to Put This All Into Action
The concept is a simple one. Stop just being optimistic about everything at all times. The time to be optimistic is after consistent work has and is being put in. Optimism is not just something to be thrown around to make everyone feel great.
Too much optimism can set you up for massive disappointments. You create all of these expectations in your life, and they come crashing down because they were all built off of hopes. None of them were made living realistically from day to day.
The best thing you can do for your self is gone and take a look in the mirror and see yourself and your life for what it is today. Then take a second look and see it for what it can be tomorrow. Then do everything in your power to make the first picture become the second.