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3 Binoculars : Solving The Puzzle of Pessimism,Optimism & Realism

Do you believe in the idea of positive thinking? I do. Have you ever heard the line ‘Don’t be a pessimist, dude!’? I did. And do you know meditation simply means to see the thing as it is? I read it somewhere.

As normal people, we always want to look better in the eyes of other people. So, most of us would want to identify as optimist. And many other people, when things are little risky – and dangerous – and we hesitate, tags us as pessimist. And sometimes some wise folks tell us to meditate and see things as they are. It’s little confusing to choose which one to be – an optimist, a pessimist or a realist?

Here is little illustration to understand each of these ideas:

optimism, pessimism and realism illustration

Optimism, pessimism and realism – these are all ideas. However, using these imaginary concepts as tool is THE goal of this article. So, as with the tools, we use each of them where we see it as a fit.

These 3 binoculars are:

1. The Optimism Binocular (The Blue One)

2. The Pessimism Binocular (The Black One)

3. The Realism Binocular (The Neutral One)

Before moving further, let me explain why binocular. This is important. We use Binocular to see a thing from a distance. Usually, you are not involved. And you want more information to take decisions – your further course of ‘action’. So, what is the good thing about using the metaphor of binocular? The good thing is you can detach yourself from the situation. Keep yourself at a distant while observing through these binoculars. Objectivity is difficult to practice because our mind is prefilled with assumptions and memories. I know it’s hard. But yet, we should give it a try, shouldn’t we?

Ok. Here we go – one by one

1. The optimism binocular (The Blue One)


This binocular is when you need an optimistic picture. This is what optimism is:

The term is originally derived from the Latin optimum, meaning “best”

So, optimism is a mental attitude in which you always EXPECT the best in a given situation. This binocular helps you do that. When you use this, you see all the good things that can possibly happen – the sunny side of everything.In short everyone have optimistic thesaurus.

When do you need to use it?

When you want to

☻look at the sunny side

☻see what’s best possible

☻feel good

☻find reasons TO DO something

☻see things which are in your favour

☻tap the opportunity which comes with risk
To delay action ((e.g, “Life is too big.” “There will always be another chance.”)

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. -Helen Keller Click To Tweet

Optimist pessimist quote best

Optimism is the madness of insisting that all is well when we are miserable. -Voltaire Click To Tweet Optimism is the foundation of courage. -Nicholas M. Butler Click To Tweet

2. The Pessimism binocular (The Black One)

There are times when you need to take extra precautions. People may call you a pessimist. They may not like you. But if the need be, and in life some situations do get very delicate – and dangerous – your life may be at risk, use this binocular. Use this one to project all the bad things that can happen – a large meteorite collides with earth and wipe out your city, if you don’t repair your car’s braking system you kill somebody under you wheels, if you don’t prepare now you’ll fail your upcoming exam for sure.

The term is originally derived from the Latin ‘pessimus’, meaning “worst”

So, Pessimism is a mental attitude in which you always again EXPECT the worst in a given situation. This binocular shows all the worst thing that can happen. This shows you all the dangers, the risk – the holes in your plan of action – and scares you.You can say its an optimistic opposite.
When do you need use it?

When you want to

☺See the dark side

☺See worst that can happen

☺See limitations

☺Feel scared

☺See all the threats and danger

☺find all reasons for NOT TO DO something

☺see Things which are against you

☺figure out the risk

☺ Ready for plan ‘B’
Create an urgency to take action or execute plans (e.g, “Life is too short.” “This is the last shot you’ve got.”)

The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised. -George Will Click To Tweet A pessimist is never disappointed. -Jack Cleary Click To Tweet

The greatest advantage of seeing through this pessimistic binocular is that it FORCES you to prepare B plans, C plans, and D plans. Think about parachutes, lifeboats and vaccines. But yet, trick to use this is to do not spend too much time on it. It may jeopardise your actions which may even bring positive results. It’s your responsibility to not let that happen. Remind you this is a tool – and you are the one who is using it.

‘The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.’ – Winston Churchill

The whole point of the article is that you see both – and be comfortable with both. Don’t turn blind to neither. Don’t run away from opportunity, and don’t run towards failure.

3. The Realist binocular (The Transparent One)

As term suggests, this is the one which shows the REAL picture – the answer to the question ‘what IS’. The optimist binocular and the pessimist binocular shows you a projected picture of ‘what COULD or WOULD happen’. The realist binocular wants you to accept the situation as it is – how it is. This is what comes up in google search if you search ‘realism meaning

the attitude or practice of accepting a situation as it is and being prepared to deal with it accordingly.

When do you need to use it?

When you want to

☺See the situation as it is

☺Live in the moment

☺Compare both possibilities AND limitations

☺Feel calm

☺Compare the cost and benefit, risk and reward

☺Know things which are in favour AND against you

☺Accept and let it go ( like failed marriage, failed business venture, etc)

☺see the ‘whole’ picture

The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The Realist adjusts the sail. -William Arthur Ward Click To Tweet

best optimist quote

Optimism means better than reality; pessimism means worse than reality. I'm a realist. -Margaret Atwood Click To Tweet

The Takeaway

As with everything, these are not just ideas or attitude – these are tools – which you have to use. As humans, we have a soft spot for labels. We tag people. A is a pessimist – B is optimist – C is a realist. You should not do that. Ditch these labels. You have to be a pessimist if you need it. You have to be an optimist if you need it. You have to be a realist if the situation demands it. Sometimes, your decision and action needs to be driven by fear, sometimes by hope and faith, and sometimes by none. We got to practice to fine tune ourselves.So realism philosophy or any other vary according to conditions.

As Bruce lee says, “Be water my friend”.

TIP: Use these ideas or attitude as a tool and DO NOT identify yourself with any of these ideas. Let these NOT become a part of your identity nor anybody else’s.

Leaving you with this thoughtful quotation

We need both in our society - optimistic and pessimistic. The optimist builds the plane, and the pessimist invents the parachute. Click To Tweet Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and expect nothing, and you'll never be hurt. Click To Tweet

What now?
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Let us know what you think about these three binoculars. Which one do you use mostly?

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3 comments, add yours.

Ram Das

The usage ‘unreal truth’ is an oxymoron. It cannot be. The reality is truth and the ‘unreality’ is untruth. Both the things cannot be coined into one. It is true that your attitude, the ‘positive attitude’, shapes your life and contributes to your optimism and success. Do you know that the ‘negative attitude’ (when there is a positive there has to be a negative also as in an electricity circuit) has a role to play in human life? The negative attitude towards ‘bad things’ in life saves you from the perils of life. But, you should have the mastery of controlling the functions of the negative attitude to a great extent and channelize its use selectively, while letting loose your positive attitude in abundance like a river water on ‘good things’.

Ram Das

Bernard Shaw called humorously the inventors of parachutes as pessimists, which need not be taken verbally. The optimism is not born out of pessimism but pessimism shows its ugly head in the absence of the optimism. A pessimist never starts; an optimist always speeds up in the runway. The pessimism does not show you the dangers of life; it shows only the lack of preparedness on the part of the individual. No compliments to pessimism at any cost! The ‘realism’ is an odd man out in this combination, as it does not portray the future.

Raj kumar

One must look at life, not through just one, but 2 binoculars depending on the situation. All th 2 binoculars, namely Optimism, Pessimism and Realism have their own uses. Any situation seen through these, one by one, brings out new aspects. These aspects can be opportunities, threats or the situation as it is. One can benefit from each of these three perspectives. One can tell him how to exploit the opportunities, other will tell him how to deal with the threats and the last one will tell him how to accept life as it comes.

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