“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” ~ Winston Churchill
Have you ever thought there was a chance that you’re secretly a pessimist under the surface of your conscious thoughts? Thinking the worst of everything is a pessimist’s way of feeling protected from disappointment when things go wrong. The good news is, you can always keep that feeling of protection with you, and you don’t have to be a pessimist to do it.
These signs will reveal habits that lean you more towards being a pessimist, and share tips on how to pick up a new, half-full perspective. It may even show you that the optimist in you truly shines through…
Here are 7 Signs You May Actually Be a Pessimist:
1 – You Discredit Victory
It is no surprise that the biggest difference between optimists and pessimists is their view of the world. When something good happens, the optimist will take credit, knowing they are in control of their actions and are responsible for the good things in their life. When something good happens to a pessimist, however, they consider it a coincidence. They don’t necessarily correlate their actions and efforts to the result.
Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D., author of Learned Optimism and a pioneer of positive psychology, discovered that how a person explains their small successes directly correlates to their overall success in life. Expecting positive outcomes from your actions garners better than anticipated results, while anticipating negative outcomes or explaining positive outcomes as a fluke, will hinder progress.
Learn from your successes and your failures because there are lessons in both – and be grateful for them all. Find a direct correlation between your actions and continue to do the ones that are working and stop doing the ones that aren’t.
2 – You Give Up Early
Pessimists tend to give up and move on when challenged while optimists keep trying to solve the problems. In one study, optimists and pessimists were tasked with solving an anagram, and it resulted in the optimists working on the solution for 50 to 100% longer.
Persistence is often an indicator of one’s success. The willingness to continue to solve challenges in the face of adversity can mean more success in school, better jobs, healthier bodies, and happier families.
Try the “fake it to you make it” approach and don’t give up at the first sign of trouble. When you feel like giving up, set a goal to keep going for one more day. Then try something new and see how you feel.
3 – You Find it Difficult to Forgive
A pessimist has a hard time forgiving. Instead, they dwell on problems, holds grudges and refuse to let things go. Not only does a pessimist give up easily, but he gives up in his relationships too.
Holding onto the perceived wrongs of another person gives a pessimist the feeling of control. On the other hand, an optimist feels the need to come to an agreement over differences and feels less in control in situations of unrest.
Stop holding on and let go of your grudges. Have difficult conversations, understand the other person’s perspective, and forgive. Forgiveness allows you to move forward without the need to rehash old grievances.
4 – You Expect Bad News
You might have heard “expect the worst but hope for the best.” Well, the pessimist expects the worst and doesn’t hope at all. It is hardly surprising to a pessimist when he gets passed over for a promotion or when a deal falls through.
The optimist is successful because they keep their hopes up, work hard and continue to expect good things to happen – even in the face of disappointing news.
Instead of expecting the worst, trying hoping for the best. Allow yourself to feel disappointment and use it as motivation to move forward.
5 – You Display Selfish Behavior
The pessimist rarely thinks of others and focuses on their interests and challenges.
A pessimist is all about the wrongs they suffer at the hands of others while an optimist accepts responsibility for their part and shares the credit.
It is hard to be on a team with a pessimist because they are constantly looking at how the actions will benefit or hurt them and do not look at the bigger picture. An optimist understands that a successful team will be a positive experience for everyone. Even if they disagree with an action, the overall success of the team is more important.
Start doing random acts of kindness for family, friends, and colleagues without any agenda. Make the act all about them and leave your feelings out of it.
6 – You Are Overly Suspicious of People
Pessimistic people have a hard time believing the good that happens to others happens because of the other person’s actions. Instead, they choose to believe that the success of others happens because of their connections or some shady dealings.
This is just the pessimist’s way of explaining why they don’t see the same success in their lives.
The Fix: Instead of discounting someone’s success, try asking them about it. Look for strategies that you can implement to help you achieve your goals.
7 – You Are Jealous of Other People’s Success
Very similar to being suspicious, pessimists are also jealous of other people’s success. It is easy to criticize or discount other people’s happy life as not real or even made up.
It is a very competitive world, and it is easy to be jealous of someone else’s life especially when posted all over social media.
In fact, according to one study, there is a direct correlation of jealousy to the amount of time spent on social media.
Stop believing everything you read and start looking at what makes you happy in your life. Accept other people’s lives for what it is – their life, and start creating a happy life.
So are you a pessimist? If you are, then there is good news. Dr. Suzanne Segerstrom, Ph.D., an optimism researcher at the University of Kentucky and author of Breaking Murphy’s Law, says that it is not hard to move from pessimism to optimism. It only takes small actions, and you can begin with the suggestions included here. Of course, it all starts with believing that a good outcome is within reach.