According to some, it’s easy to tell the difference between optimists and pessimists. A thirsty optimist looks at a half-filled glass and says, “Boy, am I glad there’s something to drink!” On the other hand, a parched pessimist looks at the same glass amount of water and says, “Is that all I get? That’s not enough, the glass is almost empty.”
The difference between optimism and pessimism isn’t so simple but the two reactions here give us some insight into how people look at the world. An optimist looks at things from an upbeat positive point of view and expects events to have a favorable outcome; the word comes from the Latin for “Best.” Pessimists, on the other hand, are more likely to feel they’ve gotten the short end of the stick and that things are more likely to go wrong than right- you can probably guess what the Latin word is “Pessimist” means. As we’ll discuss, the goal isn’t to be positive all the time, as that’s neither possible nor desirable. The goal is to understand that how you look at life’s challenges greatly affects your ability to manage them. By emphasizing the positive even after something negative happens, by expressing gratitude for the good things that come your way, and by taking useful action to move past- rather than dwell on – bad situations, you, too, can come to find that there’s plenty of water in your glass.