Can You Learn To Be An Optimist?

Are you an Optimist, Pessimist, or Realist?

Everyone has a different personality. This is what makes the world go round. When it comes to how you look at things or what kind of outcome you expect, people tend to fall into one of three categories: optimist, pessimist, or realist. An optimist will typically make lemons into lemonade. This means that they see everything that happens to them in a positive light. A pessimist is the exact opposite. Pessimists tend to look at things negatively and believe that most things will turn out badly. A realist tends to see things as they are and accepts that things are not always perfect. They deal with problems in a practical way. 

An optimist as mentioned will look towards the positive. For example, if they are looked over for a promotion at work they will be understanding and think that they may not be ready for the position right now. 

A pessimist looks towards the negative when something happens. If a pessimist is overlooked for a promotion at work they will likely start blaming themselves and look for all of the reasons that they will “never” be promoted. 


A realist is more grounded. When a realist is overlooked for a promotion they see the big picture. They will be clearheaded about being passed over and look for what they can do so that the next time there is a promotion opportunity available they are chosen.

Generally speaking, most people fall between these categories. Not every optimist will always be positive and not every pessimist will always be negative. There are pros and cons of each type of personality, but research shows that being optimistic tends to be the healthier choice. 

While there are positive and negative aspects of each personality type, research has recently shown that being more optimistic can actually be beneficial. Negativity breeds negativity. This means that being negative or a pessimist can affect your quality of life. Changing your thought process to something more positive can actually have a positive effect on your entire outlook. The research shows that people who tend to think more positively tend to get along better in the work place, are healthier, and feel better overall. 

Trying to look for the positive in things can help you improve your situation. While this is not possible all the time, it is possible to change your attitude about your life and reap the rewards.

Can You Learn to be More Optimistic?

We all know that one person who sees the positive in every situation.  Some of us hate that person.  Some of us love that person.  And some of us ARE that person.

If you are not that person, you may be wondering if you can actually learn (or teach yourself) to be more optimistic. While some people are inherently positive, others are inherently negative.  Are we capable of changing from one to the other?

There are many benefits of thinking more positively as optimists tend to be healthier and simply lead lives that are better overall. 

Changing the Way you Think

It turns out that optimism is not simply the tendency to believe that things will turn out for the better and pessimism is not just the tendency to think things will turn out poorly. Instead, these terms are used to describe the way a person thinks about what causes the adversity. A pessimist tends to think about these things in a way that makes them feel powerless. For example, many pessimists attribute the adversity to internal forces, such as this affects everything, this is all my fault, and there is no way I can change this. 

It is possible to change the way that you think about things. When you are faced with an adversity and the first thought you have is negative, take a step back and reconsider it from a different angle. 

For example, if you have an upcoming test and you are having difficulty understanding the material that is being covered it is easy to fall into the line of thinking that you are going to fail. A healthier option is to think about ways you could better understand the material and work on learning and studying what you need to in order to get a better grade on the test. The idea is that if you are thinking you are going to fail, you probably will. Changing your thought process and studying the material thoroughly can improve your chances of success. 

While our attitudes towards things are somewhat inherent, it is possible to change the way that you think about things, thus learning to be more optimistic about events. While the process is not as simple as reciting positive quotes to yourself, it really is as simple as teaching yourself to look at every situation from different angles in order to improve your attitude about it. 

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