We’re pulling out dictionary.com today:

Pragmatist: A person who is oriented toward the success or failure of a particular line of action, thought, etc.; a practical person

Pessimist: a person who habitually sees or anticipates the worst or is disposed to be gloomy

My Husband often calls me a pessimist. He will come up with some idea and I will give him a not so rosy response. He calls me a downer- that I have an intense need to see the negative in things and spoil all the fun.

Ok- there’s that way to look at it.

Then there’s my more positive view: I am merely pointing out the pitfalls and adding a rational alternative. I call it pragmatist.

So what’s the difference? Maybe it’s my delivery. When he proposes something, I’m betting I make a face. I’m betting that my eyes tell the whole story. Now while my face gives me away, I’m probably not entirely off base. If I’m being pragmatic, there’s probably a reason. If my Husband wants to take his Father someplace, and my husband has very grandiose ideas about his “I haven’t changed in 65 years” Father, who only eats chicken parm and devil dogs- I’m going to make a face and say “Really? You think? Indian fusion is the way to go? Where we need to sit on mats on the floor? And there will be sitar music that your Dad will attempt to whistle over?” Am I being pessimistic?

There’s an oft mentioned idea- past behavior predicts future behavior (I’m not sure who said it originally). Am I a pessimist because I believe this line of thought? Or am I just being realistic? I tend to think that if a person has behaved a certain way in the past, their behavior will continue into the future- the chance that they’re changed their pattern is minimal.

Now I’m talking repeated patterns. When someone continually acts in a certain way, there must be a real catalyst to change. I saw the documentary “Free Solo” (great btw). It’s about an extreme climber who in this particular case climbs El Capitan without any harnesses or ropes or such- just him and the rock. He loves this lifestyle. When I saw his girlfriend in the doc, my best guess is she doesn’t love his work. I’d be willing to bet a coffee that she would rather he quit his day job- in fact, I’d go as far to say she’s waiting out his “hobby” so they can get onto other things. Am I a pessimist or a pragmatist when I say I don’t see their relationship lasting because she is optimistically hoping that he is going to take an interest in decorating his house, when he was pretty content living out of his van eating his food out of a frying pan with the cooking spatula as his utensil?

So what’s your view? Do you see the world through rose colored glasses, or clear lenses, or blackout shades? Do you tend to point out the logical and the illogical of plans? Or do you jump onto anything with a can do attitude? Or is it a mix?

I tend to think that I’m a good mixture of things: I take part in opportunities that come my way, but I do carefully consider the pros and cons. If I say no to something, it’s not because I’m a spoilsport, it’s because I’ve weighed the options and thought about it and outweighed the good and the bad and probably calculated the odds of different scenarios happening- Just call me Doctor Strange before he gives Thanos the stone. (Analysts mind again- I can’t help but analyze everything in my path)

I think I’m pragmatic.

The questions I want you to think about today:

  1. What is a pessimist
  2. What is an optimist
  3. What is a pragmatist
  4. Do you think people can be a mix
  5. Do you think one way is better than another
  6. What do you think of the Avengers, Dr. Strange in particular

Discuss

51 thoughts on “Pragmatist/Pessimist

  1. I’m an optimistic pragmatist. A friend who is a therapist told me that once. I believe her. That being said, I’m fond of pessimists because they make me laugh and keep me safe from harm. They get a bad rap, but there’s something valuable about those people who can see problems and avoid them.

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  2. I am the optimistic one in our marriage, we have a good balance. My husband keeps me from being too impulsive and I help him loosen up and enjoy the ride! I think the only time one is worse is if we go overboard. If the pessimist is constantly trying to bring everyone down. Everything is always wrong, nothing is ever, right, etc. So I guess like you said being a pragmatist is where the balance comes in. 🙂

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  3. I totally think people can be a mix. And I think we change as we age. I was a total optimist all through my youth. Now I’m pragmatic. I still hope for the best, and think with positive goals, BUT, I have lived long enough to know the what if’s. I prepare myself for the fact that things might not end well and that’s ok. Wisdom is not wearing blinders. It’s seeing all possible outcomes and still having hope that counts. You prevent disappointment by seeing the entire picture. I believe you have to look at all angles and then find the positives in the reality of the cards you are dealt. Always have a backup plan.

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  4. We’ve got to be a mix. That’s the healthy way. I used to be a complete optimist… then got married… had a kid.. Now I’m pragmatic; also a pessimist when it comes to potential “danger” and my child.
    for Q 6: Dr. Strange analyses stuff after knowing things (remember he can literally see the future or futures). If I can too, I’d probably analyse the hell out of things.

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  5. I got kind of tired of superhero movies a while ago. I watched Infinity War and thought that pretty much everyone acted like a complete dink until Wanda and Vision at the very end. It seemed like they were the only ones who acted like grown-ups.

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  6. My glass is half full a lot lately, at least I choose to see it that way (because I actually do believe this to be true. Woe is me. 😐). I’m just not good at picking out the ray of sunshine in the hurricane of cloud. I don’t *want* to be a pessimist, but like you, I’m pragmatic because I like logic and efficiency. Is that so bad? Sheesh. I tell people to shut up a lot lately… 🙄

    I’m going to blog about a similar topic as well this week…but the word sabotage will come into play. Like purposely sabotaging something to nudge along a desired effect…(emotionally speaking). So this was a timely post, LA. 🙂

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    1. Glad to be of service! It’s funny cause I scheduled to write about this topic last week and then my husband and I got into an argument about this last night…so…you know….

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  7. Well let’s see…
    No rose colored glasses here. Life is not all sunshine and positivity so being optimistic is false in that I don’t automatically assume everything will work out. I also don’t believe everything will come to a horrid conclusion either, but I do like to weigh out and discuss in my own head the possible outcomes of major decisions. That’s being practical.
    I’m sure there are people who are one or the other, but I like to believe that life experience has planted me somewhere in the middle. I call that wisdom!
    Oh, as to #6– I do not do the Avengers, but given the reply of NJ, seeing the future is cheating. Basing practical responses on trends happening over time is okay because I’m still doing the analytic work for myself. It’s all about owning whatever label you decide to give yourself!!

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    1. That’s it…owning your label…knowing who you are, accepting it, and moving on. And accepting who your loved ones are. Managing expectations about yourself and others

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  8. I think I need to work on delivery and maybe think before I respond to my husband more. I think I’m a lot like you, and it does sometimes start an argument. This weekend I did agree to a plan he came up with. But it was shot down by his parents (I wasn’t surprised 😉

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  9. I get your style and see both of us as pragmatic. We probably need to work on keeping the eye rolls to a minimum when dealing with spouses, though.😁

    We needed an Elizabethan collar for one of our dogs that had surgery. He came home with an inflatable doughnut thingy and my response was “that ain’t gonna work.” Which it didn’t. Nor did the small collar. Third time to the store he finally got what we needed in the first place! Was I being a pessimist? Three trips to town and two non-returnable purchases? (though the manager finally relented on the first one)

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  10. I’m very much a see all sides kind of a person and tend to point out where there may be problems or difficulties. I think it really depends on the situation as to what side I end up on, though. Even though I can see and understand those problems or difficulties, I think I sometimes tend to expect the better result without really thinking I do and end up surprised if those problems actually do pop up. I think I’m one of those “plan for the worst, hope for the best” kind of people.

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  11. I also believe that people can be a combination. I tend to be a “worrier,” so I imagine I’m a bit heavy on the pessimistic side. This can probably change a bit over time, depending on life stage, but I think that our basic personalities probably shine through.

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  12. I’m definitely an optimist and my husband is a pessimist. Does that make us combined to be pragmatists? I do make faces, though, if someone comes up with a plan that I firmly believe will not work out well. Another great post!

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      1. So very very true! I had to deal with an issue today and there was no customer service phone number…just a chat….it was not pretty

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  13. I am just like you. Is it a personality thing? I overthink and analyze and make pretty good decisions. I probably make faces when my husband comes up with unrealistic ideas and get called a pessimist too. I disagree, I am neither a pessimist nor an optimist. I am a realist. Does anyone expect me to respond differently?

    I think people tend to respond in the same pattern to situations. Yes, pessimists are viewed poorly but I tend to like them better than the happy clappy bury your heads in sand types.

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    1. You are so right! There’s nothing wrong with a great attitude and going into something with a good mindset, but really….you need to have at least one foot on the ground

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  14. I try to be a positive realist. I think people can change, but usually don’t . Past behavior is a reliable predictor for older people unless something major causes change . And I think wives have to temper husbands grand plans sometimes to save the budget but when possible we should let them take the risky path. 😬

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  15. I like the idea of being pragmatic–I also like your observation that making a face while saying something “pragmatic” leads people to believe that you are being pessimistic. I think I’ll make the following comment to my husband while smiling the next time we travel by plane: “Let’s pack all of our stuff for nine days in small, small bags that will fit under the seat! That way, when the airline wants to check our bags because they let everyone else on board with 5-6 large bags per person, and the overhead compartments are stuffed to capacity, we can just put our stuff under our seats! Yay!” 🙂

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  16. I don’t think looking at things realistically is pessimistic; that’s pragmatic, as you’ve pointed out; however, I do believe how you say the realistic thing can be pessimistic. If you think X isn’t going to turn out well because A, B, and C happened in the past, then yeah…pessimism has won.

    I also think we can all be a mix of anything. A lot of times we think of ourselves as too binary. No one is always one thing.

    Lastly, I stopped going to see superhero movies about five years ago when I realized they’re all the same trope. I’ve promised my husband that I’d see one a year (that he chooses), but otherwise, no thank you.

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    1. I’m trying to figure out the lune between pessimism and pragmatism. If you know person a gets drunk and throws a scene at all the parties, is it pessimistic or pragmatic to not want him at your wedding?

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