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:
- What is a pessimist
- What is an optimist
- What is a pragmatist
- Do you think people can be a mix
- Do you think one way is better than another
- What do you think of the Avengers, Dr. Strange in particular