Optimists see the glass as half full. Pessimists see the glass as half empty. And, realists want to know why we’re spending so much time talking about glasses, when there are projects to finish and bills to pay.
The reality is that whether you’re an optimist or a pessimist, you’re likely to stay that way. Sure, you can cultivate positivity, or learn to temper your Pollyanna tendencies with a dose of pragmatism, but you can’t change your essential nature. The good news is that both optimists and pessimists have plenty to offer, when it comes to building a successful team at work.
First, See How Optimistic (or Pessimistic) You Really Are
You might feel like you know who you are, but most people are not Eeyore or Dory. Try taking a quiz like this one to see your level of overall optimism. This will help you figure out where you’re starting from. If you already think you’re super-positive about things, then let’s talk about what that does for you at work. If you’re finding out that you’re more on the pessimistic side, there can be pluses to that too.
I’m an Optimist! Yay?
You betcha. Optimists do a good job of not letting problems weigh them down, mentally. When you’re an optimist, you see a setback as temporary, not fatal to a project. Get fired from a job? Take it as inspiration to change your life for the better.
If you’re an optimist, you also have no problem taking risks, because you don’t see failure as something that is mortally wounding. You jump for that brass ring because you want to get it, and you don’t care if you don’t catch it on the first try. Optimists don’t have to succeed to be happy. It’s the journey they love, not necessarily the rewards of coming in first that have the most value.
I’m a Pessimist. Now What?
Glory in the fact that without you, your team would never see the flaws in the plan, the flies in the ointment, the bill that’s coming due long after the fun stuff is over. There’s also evidence that the office grump can more emotionally attuned to coworkers’ mental states than their cheerier colleagues.
Bottom line, the perfect team isn’t composed of all Eeyores or all Dories. Most do best with a mix of both.
Tell Us What You Think
Are you more of an optimist or pessimist? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.