There are times when it seems like the easiest thing to do is to have a pessimistic outlook on the future. You might even tell yourself that the pessimism isn’t really pessimism, but rather a way to be realistic about things. Many tell themselves that this type of thinking helps prepare them for negative outcomes in the future, but the reality is that pessimism does not do nearly as much for the individual, team or organization as realistic optimism can.
What is realistic optimism?
Realistic optimism is the belief that the future will be better than the past. It’s a way of approaching problems with a sense of hope and holding onto that hope even if things go wrong. It doesn’t mean being so optimistic that your expectations are unreasonable, but it does mean that you believe things will work out. The key to being realistic is having a plan that you can execute in order to achieve your goals. It is also about being organized and prepared for any challenges that come your way.
Why is realistic optimism important?
Studies have shown positive feelings are related to higher motivation and perseverance. Optimism also increases resilience. Your outlook on tough situations becomes less about self-pity and more about how things are bound to improve. Not only does this help overcome those difficult circumstances, but it instills a discipline that will serve you well into the future.
Another reason realistic optimism is so important is that it has a profound effect on those around you. Consider a team whose leader consistently has a negative attitude about the future. The team will not perform half as well as a team that is being encouraged and inspired by someone who believes they will do well.
Finally, there’s a real, overall health impact. Studies have shown that optimistic people have healthier lifestyles, are less likely to develop infectious diseases and live longer than pessimists. One study by Harvard Medical School found that pessimists were three times as likely to have heart attacks. Clearly, there are tangible physical benefits to realistic optimism.
Realistic Optimism With HumanQ
At HumanQ, we already know the benefits of realistic optimism. Our focus is on providing the paradigm-shifting that puts it into action. Every Coaching Track is designed to help you develop important Success Skills that gear the brain toward realistic optimism. Interested in finding out more about our take on realistic optimism?