Optimism is the belief that all will be well — the hope and confidence in a better future. But the wrong amount of optimism (without action) can delay a better future.
If you’re too optimistic, it could lead to unrealistic expectations and disappointment when the reality does not match up.
Pragmatic optimism is a combination of two terms: pragmatism and optimism. Put together; this means that you’re optimistic about your future and pragmatic about what you need to do to get there.
Pragmatic optimism is much more grounded in reality than regular optimism. It’s a philosophy that combines the practicality and optimism of the realist with the vision and hope of the idealist.
It’s about taking things one step at a time, focusing on what’s truly important, and staying open to new information as it comes in.
Urgent optimism is the desire to act immediately to tackle an obstacle, combined with the belief that we have a reasonable hope of success,” says Jane McGonigal.
Optimism and pessimism are reactions that people have when they face challenges. Optimists believe they can overcome any challenge and see the good in everything.
Pessimists believe they will never overcome their problems, so they don’t try.
Pragmatic optimists avoid both reactions by not giving up on themselves or believing everything will be rosy from now on, but instead work to find solutions to their problems and remain hopeful for the future.
It’s easy to be pessimistic when we think about our long-term goals, hopes, and dreams for a better future. We may feel overwhelmed by what could go wrong or why things have been hard in the past.
The truth is, while we should never ignore our worries, it’s just as important to remember all the practical and realistic things that can go right.
Optimism is generally based on hope. Most people end there: they don’t take practical or proactive steps to design that future they want.
Everyone has experienced this form of optimism at one point or another, but not everyone has the power of pragmatic optimism.
Expectation alone can’t guarantee success in any area of your life. You have to work for it. Make realistic plans, build systems to make progress and take steps every day to get closer to the ideal future.
What does it take to be a pragmatic optimist?
“Great things happen to those who don’t stop believing, trying, learning, and being grateful.” — Roy T. Bennett.
An optimistic mindset is built on a belief in your own ability to make things happen. And taking action to seek out optimism-inducing experiences.
Pragmatic optimism is not “false hope,” but rather a way of thinking that allows us to move forward in life despite all the difficulties we may have.
Pragmatic optimism is the idea that it’s not about having a positive attitude or being optimistic but rather about how you approach the world.
Pragmatic optimists can remain optimistic in challenging situations because they know that, no matter what happens, they have the skills and abilities to handle it.
They also take responsibility for their actions which helps them feel better about themselves. They are willing to try new things embrace opportunities when they arise instead of worrying about what could go wrong.
This specific philosophy is important because sometimes things don’t go our way, and we’ll need specific tools to deal with these challenges.
It’s essential to be able to be pragmatic to remain optimistic.
Pragmatic optimists combine both optimism and realism to deal with the negative effects of life. They recognise the harsh realities and struggles of making progress or moving forward.
Pragmatic optimists do not deny the difficulties and problems but believe that there are many opportunities in life.
They also believe that while it’s okay to feel bad sometimes, you shouldn’t let your feelings get in the way of taking action.
Anyone interested in a better future has to choose optimism
“The optimist lives on the peninsula of infinite possibilities; the pessimist is stranded on the island of perpetual indecision,” says William Arthur Ward.
Optimism has been shown to be an important factor in the success of society. Being an optimist means believing that good things will happen and taking action on those beliefs.
To become a pragmatic optimist, you need to do three things: stay optimistic, handle adversity with courage, and embrace the growth mindset.
All of that requires a change in mindset, though. You need the “glass is half full” mindset to build on.
One of the most dominant theories about optimism is the “growth mindset” theory.
This theory proposes that if you believe that your abilities are malleable and can change with effort, you’re likely to stay motivated and handle adversity more positively than someone with a fixed mindset.
Pragmatic optimists take a realistic approach to things.
They are in the consistent habit of making plans and analysing the consequences of their actions before they take action. They prepare for best and worst-case scenarios but expect things to turn out well.
It’s not easy to become a pragmatic optimist; it takes time and effort to change one’s beliefs, thoughts, and outlook on life. But it’s not impossible.
“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier,” says Colin Powell.
A future of possibilities largely depends on a mental attitude that feeds on what’s going well. Confidence in your ability to get things done, even when things are not going well can help build the ideal future you want.
This post was previously published on Better Humans.
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