I personally would never want to be labeled an optimist, or a pessimist for that matter. Probably because no one likes a debbie downer and optimistic people have a tendency to be frustratingly stupid. Instead, I’d much rather be dubbed a realist. I make a conscience effort to think with my head and not my heart.
According to Merriam-Webster, optimism is defined as “an inclination to anticipate the best possible outcome.” Come on, am I the only one that thinks that is borderline ridiculous? I don’t know what world you’re living in, but where I’m from the stock market crashes, home prices drop, and people lose their jobs. Hey optimists, try and find something good about this picture…
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with hoping for the best, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan for the worst. It’s a two way street people. I’m sure we all know people that live paycheck to paycheck by choice. They spend ever dollar they earn on two things; necessities (things like food, cleaning supplies, etc) and luxuries (facials, $100 bar tabs, lottery tickets, etc) . They use optimism as a justification for their behavior, believing that their next paycheck is guaranteed. They use optimism as an excuse to do stupid things, like not build up an emergency fund. Guess what buddy, if that paycheck doesn’t come, you are in deep, deep….trouble 😉
I’ve got news for eternal optimists: Rainy days lie ahead, bad things are going to happen to you, life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. Unfortunately, shady, immoral, greedy, and stupid people exist. And as long as they are around, optimism needs to take a hike and let discernment take control.
Have you had to deal with some stupidly optimistic people? Do you just bite your tongue and watch them make bad decisions or do you attempt to intervene and share some realistic input? It’s tough to tell someone they are being too positive, but sometimes it’s too important not to!
p.s. Check out my guest post on the Lending Tree blog about Love and Money. It’s a doozey.