Pessimist: a person who habitually sees or anticipates the worst or is disposed to be gloomy.
Optimist: a person who is disposed to take a favorable view of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome.
Realist: a person who tends to view or represent things as they really are.
People want others to be forthright and transparent. We’re taught to tell the truth, avoid exaggerations, and get to the point of our stories. We’re encouraged to share our feelings and express our emotions rather than bottle them up. We’re taught to wield positive vibes instead of razor-sharp reality.
As a result, psyches have become so fragile even Humpty Dumpty feels like he’s made of steel.
And rather than crush those whimpering psyches with evil grins upon our faces, we paint grand visions of corrupt positivity where every cup is half full, little white lies are spouted without regret to avoid hurting other people’s feelings, and Barney is a purple fucking dinosaur.
In effect, we’ve cultivated and nurtured a culture so full of hope and high expectations that reality becomes a bleak landscape no one wants to traverse.
With pessimism also frowned upon, how do we propose to combat this horrid future?
That’s where realists come in.
Unfortunately, people who think of all outcomes and possibilities—good, neutral, and bad alike—are viewed as pessimistic prudes while those who shit rainbows and purple butterflies are viewed as beacons of hope in the darkness of life.
Well, all these positive, happy motherfuckers need to take a walk down Realism Lane.
ROUND ONE: FIGHT!
Let’s say your friend—who has no college degree and has only worked fast food their entire post-high-school life—approaches you with a grand idea they got while tripping on peyote.
The idea? To start up a metal/rock club in your hometown.
A pessimist’s response might entail:
- “Dude, a bank would never give you a loan.”
- “That’s stupid. No one fucking likes rock. Not since Korn went all dubstep and shit.”
- “You’ll never make it, man. Forget about it.”
- “Got anymore peyote?”
An optimist’s response might go something like this:
- “You can do it! Yay! Let’s play hopscotch!”
And a realist might say:
- “Dude, do you have any savings set aside? Collateral? An investor lined up? A business proposal?”
- “All the clubs here in Podunk, USA, are nothing but rap or country bars. Do you really think there’s going to be a demand for a rock club? How will you get people to go?”
- “What if this sinks? What’s your fallback plan?”
- “How the fuck did you get peyote?”
The differences lie in the uttered certainties versus the possibilities.
A pessimist will state with sheer certainty that you will fail, point out your downfalls, and beg you for peyote before turning on their heels and walking away.
An optimist can’t see past their own bangs and thinks everything is just fucking grand.
A realist points out potential downfalls, asks questions that need to be answered before proceeding, inquires about adaptability and secondary plans, and wants to know the sordid details of how you got the peyote from that toothless hooker in the alleyway behind Foxy’s.
A pessimist highlights negativity with a red pen and then stab themselves with it.
A week later, an optimist will tell you your gangrenous wound looks fine and needles don’t hurt at all.
A realist will yank the pen from your festering wound and highlight all realities—positive or negative—and then hand you the red pen so you can take your own goddamn notes.
A pessimist ignores facts and shoots straight from the gut.
An optimist looks at the facts, then makes them turn into rainbows somehow.
A realist considers all facts and gets those rusty gears inside your cobweb-ridden brain turning.
A pessimist sees no more than a twinge of hope.
An optimist sees nothing but sunshine.
A realist may be blinded by the brightness of hope, but kindly points out the mountains and roadblocks along the path.
Pessimists are sulky douche-nuggets.
Optimists are way-too-fucking-enthused douche-nuggets.
Realists are smart-ass douche-nuggets.
Get it? Got it?
Listen To The Realists. For Real.
Far too often, facts and uncertainties aren’t pretty or desirable…
…but everyone needs a good backhanded dose of reality from time to time.
In the case of the rocker friend who thinks opening a metal club in a town saturated with different tastes is a good idea, the best ally is one who keeps it real. The one who says, “Yes, you can probably do it, but keep this in mind.” Not the one who says, “Go for it! YOLO!” or “You’re fucking nuts, bruh. Get outta here with that shit.”
You don’t want someone who’ll pinch out the flame of hope before thinking anything through. You also don’t want someone who’ll guarantee the hope is real and work the bellows all night while singing a merry tune.
You want someone to approach the situation with caution, someone who has plans for every possible outcome beforehand, someone who’ll fan the hope but who’ll also be ready with a fire extinguisher just in case.
Listen to the realists. For real.
Optimism is desired, pessimism is frowned upon, and the once-admirable traits of bluntness and honesty somehow turned into pessimistic traits.
But if you’re a realist, don’t let that stop you from being the thinker and processor that you are. Don’t let pessimistic and unrealistically optimistic views on your realistic dopeness drag you down.
Maybe people don’t want to hear the truth, but it’s got to be done.
Either that or everyone else should just stop being so damn pessimistic.
Stay tuned. There’s more randomosity coming soon.