Optimist, pessimist, or realist. Which one are you? How about being each one of them at the right time?
Thinking about this today after having a conversation yesterday when some suggested that I was a “glass half empty” person, implying incorrectly that I’m a pessimist by nature.
First, let’s use my friend’s water-glass analogy to define the terms. How do you see the glass of water?
Optimist – One who sees the glass of water as being half full and thinks that half a glass is all that is needed to conquer the world.
Pessimist – One who sees the glass of water as being half empty and works to get more water before conquering the world.
Realist – One who looks at the glass of water and sees four ounces of clear water and knows exactly what can be done with it to start changing the world.
We need to be all three if we are to be successful entrepreneurs.
Sometimes, we need to be the optimist. The optimist’s ability is especially valuable when creating vision and setting high expectations. We also have to be a bit delusional about the future to keep getting up each morning.
Sometimes, we need to be the pessimist. This is needed, in particular, to be able to identify all the obstacles and barriers preventing progress so that we can deal with them effectively.
Finally, we need to be realists. In the heat of the game, a realist will execute exactly as necessary considering the resources and skills available at the time.
I tend to be a realist most of the time but switch between all three as needed.
What is your primary tendency? Are you aware of it and working to perform as the other two personalities when needed?
Consider reading my book, Rock & Sand: A Practical Insight to Business Growth. It lays out ways to create an optimistic vision. It also identifies the barriers you need to be pessimistic about and ties them together to create realistic action plans to move your company forward.