Pessimist vs. Realist

Are you a true realist or are you a pessimist in disguise? Here you will find out the difference.

There are several components to optimism. One can consider themselves to be an optimist and still be pessimistic about some things. Much of this leans on your level of efficacy – that is your BELIEF that you can do something, as opposed to whether you can actually do it. For example, while I have optimistic leanings, my level of efficacy about building a rocket ship by December is very low. I can quickly calculate my skill level and the amount of effort that I would expect to put into the task. In this example, given the cramped time frame, my lack of skill in rocket building and the daunting task of getting materials etc by year’s end is, in my estimation, impossible. So, am I thinking like an optimist, a pessimist or a realist? Many people labeled as a pessimist, defend their position by calling themselves a realist. But which is it? Let’s see where you fit in. I am about to ask you a question, please be aware of your initial reaction and any other responses that follow and your final determination.
Here is the question: Can a man with no arms and no legs swim?
What do you think?
Please have your answer firmly in your head.
Now, please watch this.
How accurate were you? Were you open to the possibility, or do you say “no way” or “It can’t be done”? A pessimist often uses a lot of absolutes in their language. Absolutes like “never” or “always” or “can’t”. An optimist uses language with ear-markers of hope – words like “maybe” or “possibly”. The realist? defines a realist as “a person who tends to view or represent things as they really are.” So, the delineation between a pessimist and a realist is accuracy. If you consider yourself to be a realist, I invite you to keep track of how accurate your predictions are. If you are not right at LEAST 50% of the time, you might reconsider your position.
Whether you call yourself an pessimist, a realist or an optimist, I invite you tomorrow’s Happiness 101 class where we will break down the three specific components that make up optimism. It’s a free class, so you have nothing to lose but your frown. Join us at 7pm, Monday, March 8th for Happiness 101. The address is 220 East 3900 South #7, Salt Lake City For a list of upcoming classes go to or for recorded information call 877-476-6338
A special thank you to Nick Vujicic for inspiring us. Learn more about Nick and his amazing life at
~Frank Clayton, Licensed Professional Counselor

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