optimist – someone who has a disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome.
pessimist – someone who has the tendency to see, anticipate, or emphasize only bad or undesirable outcomes, results, conditions, problems, etc.
realist – someone who is interested in or concerned for the actual or real, as distinguished from the abstract, speculative, etc.
idealist – someone who has the tendency to represent things in an ideal form, or as they might or should be rather than as they are.
I used to think that being an optimist was the most important type of person that I could be, but my views have changed. The main influence on this change of opinion has been me being responsible for other people, the advice that I give, and the outlook that I have as a leader. When I have been overly optimistic, and things didn’t pan out the way that I wanted them to, I let people down. Of course, pessimism only hurts things. And idealism is great when looking at the future, but not much use without spending the time to come up with the needed action steps to get there.
However, realism reminds me of the need to look at the facts of the present, and then to speak accordingly. When other people’s emotions and even well-being are on the line, being a realist is the way to go. Sure, being optimistic and idealistic are important — I would consider myself an optimistic realist — but speaking from a realistic point of view is one of the easiest ways to protect the people around you.