Is there a fine line between optimism and reality?

Optimism has always been one of the key drivers behind human innovation. However, reality can sometimes hit hard and a question rises here:

Is there a fine line between optimism and reality? Yes there is. You may be an extremely optimistic person, but you are always one step away from being hit by the harsh reality and transforming into a realistic person.

But first, what’s optimism and what’s realism?

When a person is optimistic, he/she has a feeling that what they are working on will have a good outcome. 

Emotions play a huge role in optimism as optimism gives you that feeling of success before it even happens.

What about being realistic? People are labeled realistic when they assess things based on the information and the data that they can get their hands on.

For example, if you are a realistic person, and you are planning to start a new blog or any other online business, one thing that you would do is that you go check the number of blogs currently on the internet, how much money can they make, what is the percentage of the successful blogs, how much content do they create and so on.

After you’ve gathered the data, you go and check how much work you’ll have to put into it and you’ll calculate your chances of success.

Based on your calculations, you’ll decide whether you should pursue this path or not.

Now that we’ve defined both concepts, which one is better?

Optimism VS Realism, which one is better?

None. The best option would be a combination of both. In order to make it, you need to be both optimistic and realistic at the same time.

What happens if you only rely on optimism?

If you only rely on optimism, you might end up wasting your time pursuing things that might never workout for you.

What’s worse is that optimism fades with time if it wasn’t mixed with realism.

What do I mean by that?

When people start working on new things based only on their optimistic views and without studying the reality behind what they’re stepping into, then things might get ugly real quick.

When I first started blogging, I was only driven by optimism, I never looked much into the success rates of bloggers, what they do, how do they do it, or anything else.

All of what I had in mind is that there is no way I can fail if I put in a huge effort. The reason behind my optimism was that I was 100% sure I would put so much effort into the blog.

What I was missing however is the fact that more effort does not yield better results. You can spin in circles all day without achieving anything if you’re not careful enough.

Few months in and reality hit me hard. I spent days upon days of hard work and nothing was happening. I did extensive research and I realized that I was doing many things the wrong way.

When I saw things from a realistic perspective, everything changed. 

I realized that no matter how optimistic I was about the blog, I would have given up at some point if I didn’t learn sooner about the reality of the blogging world.

Why? Because being only driven by optimism would have blinded me from noticing that things aren’t really going good for the blog and that a huge change is a must.

And this is one of the worst results of being only driven by optimism.

Being extremely optimistic about things without really looking into the reality behind them can sometimes blind you from taking extremely important decisions for the future of the thing you are working on.

Things might be going really bad, but your optimism might be blocking you from seeing that and seeking a change. And you really want to avoid that for your work to succeed.

What about only being driven by realism?

If you base every decision you make in life only on realism, you’ll end up setting a lot of limitations on yourself.

Numbers can always be terrifying. Reality will often be disappointing and if you only live by realism, then you might miss a lot of opportunities.

I keep mentioning Elon Musk in my articles and I will mention him again here. Elon said himself that his cars company Tesla and his space rockets company SpaceX had a 10% chance of succeeding. He was being very realistic, but he also chose to pursue the hard choice and he have proven multiple times that he was never willing to give up on these companies.

Had Elon only based his decisions only on the reality that there is a very low chance of success, he wouldn’t have put so much effort into these two companies and lead them to the level of success they are achieving today.

So how do you combine optimism and realism?

I’d like to use an analogy here. If you are a car that wants to reach its destination, then let the driver be your realism and the engine power be your optimism.

That way, your realism will make sure that you’re taking the best road possible towards your destination and your optimism will help you keep pushing forward even on the darkest points on the road.

Aristotle have once mentioned that “There is no great genius without some touch of madness”

Being very optimistic about something can be considered madness and sometimes you need that to achieve great things.

My final words would be that realism with some touch of optimism can be the option that yields the best results in our lives.