The Pessimist, The Realist & The Optimist... How you can be all 3
Quite often we are boxed and labelled to be one thing or another:
“You always see the negative in things” - Pessimist
“You are such a level-headed person” - Realist
“The glass is always half full with you” - Optimist
But human beings are quite complex creatures. We are not that simplistic or linear. We are a melding of various characteristics and some elements will be more prominent than others depending on circumstance and environment both within us and from the outside world.
Have you ever felt that on one day you seemed to be ticking through that “to-do list” like you were going to win the lottery if you ticked all the boxes yet on another day you seem to struggle to even read what’s on that list?
Think about whether you slept well the night before the “down” day, or had you been told some news in the recent time to that day that subconsciously took up your time? Or perhaps there was a person or two not at work around that time that meant there was more pressure on yourself to perform?
I’m going to say it again: we are human beings. We are not machines. Emotions (no matter how stoic a person we believe ourselves to be or how much we feel we “leave things at the work entrance”) play a HUGE factor in how effective we are in our creativity, rationale and decision-making. Having a way to manage this is a great anchor to rely on when our days aren’t optimum and a great reflector for when we are having a brilliantly productive day.
It's Disney time!
Robert Dilts in 1994 created what is commonly known as the Disney Strategy. He created this strategy based on how Walt Disney worked when he was being creative. It incorporates three styles of thinking: The Dreamer, The Realist and The Critic. When Walt wanted to work through an idea he operated in a sequential pattern as opposed to what many of us do – which is to think of all of these elements all at the same time. This ends up leading us to feel overwhelm and chaos and ultimately feeling too exhausted to consider our original thought.
The methodology above clearly shows that we do have the capacity to be all of these characters and the key to being successful at this is how to manage all three of these very strong elements (and yes, it can be done!)
You can utilise this strategy in a way that sits with your own learning style
If you like to “see” things then having a flow chart or a picture up on different walls of your office to reflect the different personas will help. View this chart and go and look at the different pictures when you want to be in that zone.
If you like to read or hear you may resonate with reading about the strategy in further detail or listening via your favourite audio channel before implementing it.
Perhaps you learn better by “doing”. If so create different rooms in the vibe of each persona or have different hats that you physically put on when you need to be thinking in a certain zone.
Being mindful of who you are emulating will help the other aspects of your brain to wait patiently until it is their time to have centre stage and provide their viewpoints on things. With practice, you will want to interrupt yourself less as you begin to have more faith that you will give each persona the time and respect to air and consider their thoughts... better than mini battles going on inside your head where you can’t really hear anything but white noise and certainly no decisive decisions being made!
As you can see, regardless of the general consensus that is held about each persona (eg. a pessimist is a negative person), all three are vital in order to make robust, thorough and completely achievable goals and results. We are all three of these people and no, a pessimist (critic) isn’t a negative person – they are there to ensure to their best ability that the chances of not achieving the goal are minimised because it has considered the “what ifs”. An optimist (dreamer) is the creative space that looks for solutions to situations and helps to manifest these and the realist brings both the optimist and critic’s thoughts to the table to see what is actually achievable... binds the ingredients, if you will.
So the irony here is that we all have these personas within us, we just naturally have leniency toward one of them. So when someone tries to box you in as a pessimist, realist OR optimist, you can quite rightly advise them that they are too... they may just not be openly aware of it!
Changing mindsets and behaviours does take time and desire. It will not happen overnight but the realisation or awareness that you are capable to make such changes is quickly realised when you work with me. If you are ready to feel more positive, resilient and in control, then contact me in confidence at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can discuss your personal situation and find a way together that works for you.
© YMR Coaching & Development
Yvonne is qualified in Coaching, Positive Psychology, and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and believes in continual personal development. She is currently based in the UK and also has life and work experience in Ireland, New Zealand and Australia. She helps with mindset wellbeing and change which includes significant relocations. She is contactable for client availability, public speaking events and media enquiries here: https://www.ymrcoaching.com/helpful-links