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Philosophical Discussion: is It Better to Be Realistic Or Optimistic

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“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”- William Arthur Wart. In my opinion, I feel that there is not a fine line between optimism and reality. The reason being that the feeling of optimism can brighten and influence what you say and your interactions with the people around you. Positive vibes from one individual rubs off onto others when one is in a discussion or short conversation and adds hopefulness, which lifts the weight from your shoulders and lets you think about taking one step at a time. Your perspective on whether today is a lucky day, or the thoughts of a joyful time will push you forward, however, realism needs to play a factor and one should be prepared for what comes next in life. This said, a change in plans can be challenging or perceived grimly when individuals must face the inevitable. He or she chooses whether to think over it and pretend that it won’t happen again, accept it, move on, and learn from the experience, or decide to dwell on it with no sight of ever letting it go.

To start with, reality is defined as the state of things as they actually exist. “Optimism is stated as the hopefulness and confidence about the future or outcome for something” by the Merriam-Webster. When you think realistically, there will always be ups and downs and the only way you get through it is by accepting optimism, and thinking about the best way that something can happen. It’s impossible to predict the future, so most individuals would rather have positive thoughts and reiterate to themselves that everything will be fine, even if the situation doesn’t end the way you wished it to be. In these ways, one is using optimism and in turn being optimistic, sometimes without even realizing it. If you were to ask a pessimist, realist, or optimist about the glass of water experiment, the final conclusions would show that when one is optimistic, he/she tends to predict beneficial and hopeful possibilities from what is presented. When one is realistic, he/she tends to predict the most likely possibilities from what is presented in front of him/her. One thing to note is that what one sees is what the individual wants to see, which means that a person’s perception influences one’s perspective.

One thing to keep in mind, is that most individuals don’t see the fine line because it is not that noticeable. Imagine reality as the big picture, and the small blotches scattered around it represent optimism. Reality, optimism, and pessimism are like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. When the pieces are put together, they form the big picture which is one’s life. The obvious pieces are reality and from there, optimism and pessimism squeeze themselves in parts of the picture. It’s all one big interaction that goes hand in hand. If one’s life could be described as a mountain track, reality would be a path with bumps along the way. As one goes up the usual trail, all around is sunlight, a light breeze, the gentle flow of a river, flowers blooming, and the birds spreading their wings as they start their flight across the sky. The day unexpectedly turns out better than planned and leaves you with an uplifted feeling. With time the day goes from being spectacular to grim in seconds – the rain starts from being as little droplets hitting your face and immediately starts to beat down harder and harder by the minute, thunder takes over the sky, and wild creatures come out. This would be what some feel is the end of the journey and too difficult to make it through. The gorgeous day reminds some of optimistic moments just like these, which can be all the difference that brings one back to reality and face the truth.

To end with, many individuals feel that once they are challenged beyond their comfort zone, they enter a state of panic, and to avoid the issue, they walk away without ever trying to resolve it. This leads to one being set up for failure, because someday one will be face to face with a conflict that he/she can’t try to get away from, and has an excessive amount of “weight” to carry, on top of everything else that one worries about. Gene Roddenberry once stated, “It isn’t all over, everything has not been invented; the human adventure is just beginning.” Like I stated before, when you think realistically, you expect the ups and downs of life and the only way you get through it is by being optimistic, and believing that a wonderful ending will come. You are the ones who choose what to do next and how you will move on from all kinds of experiences that come your way.

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