Pessimism’s Happier Cousin

I’m not what you would call a glass half full kind of person. That’s not to say that I’m a pessimist. Rather, I tend to take a somewhat optimistic view with a heavy side order of realism.

I used to have a blog at optimistrealist.com that I think fairly nicely summed up my perspective on life.

Hoping for the best, expecting the worst is how I have described it in the past.

An example

Let’s say I have a 9:00 A.M. flight out from YYZ to PDX (via YYC) to catch.

The optimist in me believes everything will be great – the flight will likely leave on time, it’ll be an uneventful cab ride to the airport, and as long as I give myself a good time buffer, security will be a breeze.

Half full? Half empty? Or just some amount of water?
Half full? Half empty? Or just some amount of refreshing water?
The realist in me remembers that traffic could be a mess, or that depending on the day of the week, security at YYZ could be a shitshow.

As a result, I plan to leave an extra 20 minutes early. Just in case.

On the day of the flight, traffic is lighter than I expected on the Gardiner and security is typical. I get to the gate an hour before my flight leaves and I spend the extra 20 minutes sipping a flat white, surfing the Internet and writing a blog post.

Rather than assuming things will be terrible and fretting endlessly about it, the optimist-realist accomodates the possibility that things might not run smoothly and rolls with the punches (if they come).

As a result, optimist-realists are rarely disappointed when things don’t go exactly as planned. On the other hand, when things unfold perfectly (or better than expected), the optimist-realist is often surprised and delighted!