Realist vs Pessimist vs Optimist vs Idealist

Realist vs Pessimist vs Optimist vs Idealist

Ever confronted with the dilemma of who realist, pessimists, optimists, and idealists are? You have stumbled upon the right place. This article will encapsulate the meaning of these terms and state their significant attributes. The article will also try to draw distinctions amongst the terms with the aid of some instances. Realist vs Pessimist vs Optimist vs Idealist.

Who are they?

Realists are those who perceive things as they exist in reality and anticipate both the negative and positive consequences of a situation. On the other hand, idealists envision an ideal world, rather than living in the real world. They want to work for their noble, far-sighted ideas

Pessimists are those who anticipate the worst in every situation while optimists always look at the brighter side.

These are philosophical words, which hold prominence in ascertaining the personality traits of a person. 

Who are you?

To know who you are, read further the elucidation of all these terms

Are you a realist?

A realist takes things as they exist. They are always ready to take things head-on, whether good or bad. As a realist you would know that good and bad things are a part and parcel of life, you win sometimes and you lose the other times. A realist is someone who ponders upon things a little more than others and anticipates the risks, requirements, and outcomes of any situation beforehand. They take into consideration everything in their environment and then reach upon the probable outcome. The realists neither look at the brighter side(like the optimists do) nor at the darker side(like the pessimists do). For instance, Hermoine Granger from the prominent Harry Potter series by JK Rowling is a realist. She takes all the challenges head-on and acts after calculating the risks without expecting any outcome. 

You are a realist if  :

  •  You accept things the way they are
  •  You estimate, critically evaluate and calculate the risk involved in anything
  •  You are neither a pessimist nor an optimist. 
  •  You are practical 

Pros and cons of being a realist

The pros of being a realist are as follows: 

  • If you are a realist, you hope for the best, keeping in mind the other possibilities as well. You have another plan if things don’t work out your way. 
  • Being a realist makes you easygoing, as you have already calculated the probable outcomes.

The cons of being a realist are as follows:

  • Realists often ignore the importance of emotions and imagination.
  • They don’t give significance to the power of ideas.

Realists lie somewhere between optimists and pessimists. They are the diagonal opposites of the idealists, who give priority to their thoughts.

Are you a pessimist?

A pessimist is someone who foresees that everything will go wrong. They see the situations from a darker lens. However, pessimism is not just about thinking negatively, but it also deals with concerns about the future. A pessimist would always be anxious about the future, he would expect something to go wrong. Some pessimists consider negative thinking as a means to achieve goals. The best instance of a pessimist is the character of Prince Hamlet from the tragedy Hamlet by William Shakespeare. He is a reflective and thoughtful young man overpowered by his melancholy, bitter and cynical nature. His reciprocation to his mother marrying just two months after his father’s death portrays him being pessimistic as he says that the world is stale, it has no taste left.

You are a pessimist if:

  • You expect negative outcomes.
  • You don’t see possibility in the most probable thing.
  • You undervalue your potential.
  • You don’t believe in happy endings.

Pros and cons of being a pessimist

The pros of being a pessimist are as follows:

  • A pessimist will never lose, as he’ll not try things that are probable to give negative outcomes.
  • He would be astonished and elated if something turns out in his favor

The cons of being a pessimist are as follows:

  • People would not like to be around pessimists as they make the environment gloomy.
  • Being a pessimist overshadows your happier side.

Pessimists are the opposite of optimists, who think positively. They aren’t realists as no matter how probable the outcome is, they will expect it to not be in their favor, while realists analyze the situation and then expect an outcome. 

Are you an optimist?

An optimist sees the rosy picture in every situation. They expect outcomes to be positive. They believe that there is good in everything. They have usually attained inner peace. No matter how grave the situation is, they believe in things turning out to be right at the end. Even if they fail, they try to take it positively and endeavor to forget it as soon as possible.

The fictional character of Dory from Finding Nemo and Finding Dory is the best possible example of an optimist. The hurdles in her life don’t refrain her from taking life one day at a time.

You are an optimist if:

  • You feel like overcoming all the hurdles successfully.
  • You perceive the future to be always bright.
  • You see obstacles as opportunities to grow.
  • You feel positive about yourself.

Pros and cons of being an optimist

The pros of being an optimist are as follows:

  • A positive outlook towards life always results in better outcomes
  • People would like to be surrounded by optimists as they fill hope and positivity in the air.

The cons of being an optimist are as follows:

  • Being overly optimistic can blind someone towards the risks and negative outcomes.
  • Being an optimist can lead to impracticality and overconfidence.

Optimists are responsible, they remember all the good things that happened to them and try to learn from their failures. However, excess optimism can sometimes lead to overconfidence, which hinders a person from giving his best.

Are you an idealist?

An idealist is a person with a somewhat noble approach to everything, he is devoid of the realities and practicalities of life. He does not perceive things as they exist, rather he believes in the supremacy of ideas. Idealists want to see everything in the best possible way. They want everything to work out in their favor and they see the situation as it should be than it actually is. An idealist usually blames the people in their environment for all the mishaps or inconveniences in their lives. The fictional character of Dorothea Brooke, the heroine of George Eliot’s masterpiece, Middlemarch, is an idealist. Her idealism led her to marry Edward Casaubon, a middle-aged scholar she hoped to assist and who turned out to be ineffectual and imperious.

You are an idealist if:

  • You contemplate being the best.
  • You envision the impossible, something off the limits.
  • You don’t perceive the things as they are as real, i.e. opposing realism.
  • You give weightage to your thoughts.

Pros and cons of being an idealist

The pros of being an idealist are as follows:

  • Idealists tend to work on themselves, as their notion of being the best is somewhat hard to achieve.
  • They are effective problem solvers, as they idealize the situations in a better manner than most people.

The cons of being an idealist are as follows:

  • Idealists are considered to be vague and abstract beings, as they are lost in the world of ideas.
  • They emphasize more on mental thinking, rather than the actual world.

Idealists sometimes develop perfectionist tendencies because of their goal of being the best. They at times can be either optimistic or pessimistic and act according to their personality.


There exist people having different personality traits and the article traced the attributes of a few prominent personalities and tried to bridge a gap amongst them. We can conclude that each one of them has there own pros and cons, and striking the right balance amongst the traits of all the personalities is what life is all about.

Frequently asked questions(FAQs)

Which one is better- being an optimist or a realist?

Neither of the two is desirable, you have to absorb the positive traits from both. While realists perceive things as they are, optimists look at the positive side. However, being overly optimistic isn’t helpful, as you have to come to terms with reality as well.

Can someone be both a realist and an idealist?

Yes, a person can be both a realist and an idealist. Realists take things as they are, they accept reality, while idealists are motivated by their ideas of achieving better. Some people consider themselves both as they accept reality and are motivated by their thoughts to achieve higher goals.

Realist vs Pessimist vs Optimist vs Idealist

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top