I like to think of myself as being a realistic optimist. I’m all for looking at the bright side of things, but not before assessing a situation and seeing it for what it really is. I often feel that people mistake my realistic approach for negativity. Because I’m able to see situations for what they are, I feel like I’m better able to determine a course of action. Being able to understand the full scope of a situation is what has saved me time and time again.
Being a realistic optimist is a bit weird because reality can be stressful. Sometimes reality makes it tough to be optimistic. On the other hand, that same penchant for reality is what gives me the power to push my way through the stress. When it becomes too stressful, I find myself having to dig a bit deeper to find that silver lining. I went through a very stressful period at work recently, full of doubt and uncertainty. My friends and family reassured me that everything would be fine, but I knew better. I knew that the only way to lower my stress levels was to rid myself of the environment altogether.
Sometimes you can’t remove yourself from the physical environment, but you can remove yourself from the toxic mental environment. How did I break my own mental chains? I distracted myself. Once my optimism kicked in, I had the bright idea to find things to do outside of the workplace. I decided to find ways to enrich myself and ended up blogging and brainstorming on possible business ventures. Once I distracted myself with something that I knew I could do, the pressure settled. My workplace stress slowly started to relieve itself and I was able to perform better.
As crazy as it sounds, people actually look to me for advice. These people look for my advice because they know that I’m going to give them the tough answer, the one they knew but didn’t want to accept. Sometimes my advice has a “this changed, so you have to change” tone because I don’t like the idea of dwelling on something that’s never going to be a reality again. It sounds harsh at first, but I know for a fact that it works because I’ve done it myself. Being a realistic optimist, adaptability is the main byproduct of my superpower.
Now, I’m not bothered when someone calls me negative. It’s annoying, but it’s ok. Yes, my optimism sometimes is more laissez-faire than yours. Yes, I’m more willing to take on the pains of reality. Guess what? This realistic optimist wouldn’t have it any other way. I can’t be real with you if I’m not first real with myself.