I’m a Realist

“I’m a realist!” says the pessimists.

It is very easy to identify the optimists in the room. These are the “glass half full” people, which can be very encouraging and annoying at times (you know it’s true). Distinguishing between pessimists and realists can be a challenge, though. Pessimists will often describe themselves as realists. They will make a negative comment and present it as truth. Here’s the thing, though, negative thoughts don’t hold any value. Zero. These thoughts don’t get us into problem-solving mode; even if they seem accurate, they just aren’t helpful. This is not to dig our heads in the sand around things happening in the world, but this mindset leads to more depression and anxiety. So how do you know the difference?

  1. Knowing all. Pessimists expect that terrible things will happen. Doing so feels protective like you are prepping for battle when in reality, this only puts the brain on high alert when it’s not time for that to happen. It’s kind of like a false alarm going off in your mind. Realists, on the other hand, consider all the different sides that could be true, and then they present their information on what is, instead of what could be or should be.
  2. Realists understand other people’s opinions and beliefs and do not feel threatened when someone disagrees with them. Pessimists tend to take differences in opinions as a personal attack. This is mainly because realists don’t become as emotionally invested. They can separate feelings from facts, whereas pessimists are emotionally invested due to the strong emotional charge connected to their opinions.
  3. The hamster wheel. Pessimists stay on the hamster wheel. They will stagnate in their problems through avoidance, procrastination, and self-loathing. It is difficult for these individuals to execute tasks efficiently because too many “tabs” open in their brains with a worst-case scenario. Realists are good at problem-solving and moving on. These individuals don’t like to stay stuck. They figure out solutions, often asking for help (which pessimistic people struggle with).

The bottom line, our brain will find evidence for what we believe. If you believe the world is a bad and terrible place, there is a lot of evidence to support that. There is also bucket loads of evidence to support the beauty and kindness. Overly optimistic people tend to get hurt easily. Realists are quickly drained because they can see things from all angles, and Pessimists are quickly defeated because their negative assumptions are quickly “confirmed”.

All in all, it’s essential to look at what is instead of what should be. As Aristotle says, “ It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” Not everything we think is true, it’s just a thought.

Life is short, and quality of life is directly connected to one’s mindset of self, other people, and the world. We have a choice over how we want to show up in life.

How do you want to show up?


Mandy Morris
Mandy Morris
Mandy Morris is an executive psychology coach, therapist, speaker, author, and mental health expert. For more than 15 years, she has had the honor of working alongside individuals from all walks of life who decided to take action to change their lives. While Mandy specializes in assisting those in executive leadership, the key to success in any role, personally and professionally, is knowing you're ready to do the work. She will help you figure out what it is that's stopping you from moving forward. Then, she will create a clear plan for how to rise above any obstacles you're facing so that you are ready for a future of incredible possibilities. There are a lot of coaches and therapists in the world. What sets Mandy's work apart from the rest is her extensive training, real-world experience, and personal passion and purpose in her field. She holds a Master's degree in Clinical Counseling and is a Certified EMDR Clinician & Anger Management Specialist. Mandy is also Co-Founder and Clinical Director of Mosaic Counseling Group, using evidence-based approaches, positive psychology, and neuroscience. Whether through her private practice, individual coaching sessions, group sessions, speaking engagements, or social media presence, Mandy's goal is always the same: To guide you toward the future you desire as we break through old patterns.

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  1. “Intriguing” article. Well done!
    Based on my experiences and knowledge, pessimistic people notice and retain only a certain type of information: negative ones. Many times, without realizing it, they filter the information and evaluate in detail only those of a negative type. When faced with a difficulty, they anticipate the worst outcome, without necessarily being the most likely. In other words, they place their negative expectations “in what is to come”.
    The most distinctive feature of realistic people is that they are not used to anticipating value judgments. In other words, they wait to see how facts unfold to assess a given situation, what they expect to happen, and once they have real data, they make a judgment. A realistic person is not catastrophic and more adequately evaluates the positive and negative aspects of situations and problems.

    • Hi Aldo! Thank you for your support. You are absolutely right, pessimistic people have tunnel vision, which I believe is based out of fear and judgement of self & others. I love your thoughts on realists too and that they don’t go into catastrophic thinking, that is absolutely true. What are your thoughts on optimists? While it is a more helpful way of thinking, the rosey colored glasses can also be detrimental.