Optimist vs Realist

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett (Bill Gates’ YouTube)
“Optimism is a huge asset. We can always use more of it.” Melinda Gates wrote in 2017’s Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation annual letter addressed to Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett. “We see this in you, Warren. Your success didn’t create your optimism,” she wrote. “Your optimism led to your success.”

This shows that the secret to Warren Buffett’s success was optimism. Billionaire couple Bill and Melinda Gates share this quality, trusting that tomorrow will be better than today. As Helen Keller said, “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

This is also applicable to the science of good fortune. Comparison of optimists and realists shows that optimists can enjoy the good fortune they have been given to its utmost. While many optimists obtain over 90% of this luck, most realists barely use 30% of the luck they have been born with.

Why is that? Realists suppose luck doesn’t follow them. They focus on avoiding danger when making plans and believe help will be unavailable if the worst comes to pass.

For that reason, their purpose cannot grow. Realists only choose what fits within their expectations and capabilities. When they encounter difficulties, they think, “I knew it. I had problems here, just as I expected. I’d better avoid risk. At least then I won’t completely fail.”

Optimists work differently. They believe they are lucky. They view the future in a positive light and challenge themselves with goals that exceed their current abilities, boldly throwing themselves into the territory of luck. They don’t hesitate to spring into action. While realists are busy tapping buttons on calculators, optimists are already a step ahead.

When they encounter obstacles in their path, optimists respond proactively. They know that fortune favors those who solve problems rather than those who seek them out. “I need to go through these difficulties. It’s part of the process to achieve my goals. If I can just overcome this, good things will happen.” They often get help through good relationships in unexpected places thanks to this attitude.

Of course, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Even while moving toward success, optimists can be trapped by anxiety and doubt about the future. But they don’t let these unnecessary emotions consume their energy for long, but rather keep moving forward. This state of mind naturally draws good fortune to them.

It is worth noting that optimism isn’t the same as hoping for luck. Suppose two people both start a diet. The firm optimist thinks, “I’ll eat low-calorie food and vegetables in moderation and exercise regularly,” and then puts this into practice. People who are only seeking luck expect, “I’ll lose weight if I just take this medicine.”

As Melinda Gates wrote in her letter to Buffett quoted earlier, “Optimism isn’t a belief that things will automatically get better; it’s a conviction that we can make things better.” The attitude of hoping things will get better on their own without lifting a finger actually pushes good fortune away. Vague expectations crumble and you become more anxious and afraid.

Suh Yoon's Quotes

“Optimists believe they are lucky. They view the future in a positive light and challenge themselves with goals that exceed their current abilities, boldly throwing themselves into the territory of luck.”

“When optimists encounter obstacles in their path, they respond proactively. They know that fortune favors those who solve problems rather than those who seek them out.”

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