8 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Always Be An Optimist

By Alex Shalman

May 28, 2008   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Written on 5/28/2008 by Alex Shalman, creator of the Practical Personal Development blog.


A pessimist? That’s a person who has been intimately acquainted with an optimist.~Elbert Hubbard

There are many people out there who will swear that a bit of positivity will solve all the problems in the world. They’re out there strutting their big smiles, great days, and unrealistic expectations of the world. The rest of us are annoyed — maybe even a little offended.

There’s a reason we’re all a bit put off by the constant optimist. Their behavior does not reflect the status quo nor does is fairly represent what’s going on in the news or global community. It makes you wonder how someone can get up the nerve to have a great day when there are typhoons, earthquakes, tsunamis and global warming that are killing thousands as we speak.

Sure positivity could reduce some stress for the person exhibiting it, but let’s take a closer look at the overall cons of obsessive optimism:

8 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Always Be An Optimist

  1. Creating stress. Not everyone can handle your overbearing optimism in the face of adversity. Even if you have no survival story, people get worked up, frustrated, and irritated at the fact that you’re prancing around like you cured world hunger. And so what if you did, there are still people dieing for diamonds — get back to work.


  • Breaking deadlines. An overly optimistic person will think it takes them way less time to complete an assignment than it really does; they do this all the time! How do you think this affects their co-workers, friends & family, and the general population?
  • Decreased productivity. Without carefully analyzing all the steps that take you from point A to point B, you’re bound to have too many obstacles that you cannot cope with. Try getting anything done when you’ve gone over budget, underestimated your resources, or got 5 unexpected monkeys on your back.
  • Coping with people. When you’re overly optimistic, you can’t possibly cope with the realistic people in your life. They’re talking about real things like CNN, ABC, MTV, and XYZ. You want to talk about hearts and butterflies, and frankly… nobody cares.
  • Leave things broken. Sure, the pessimist might see things as too far gone to fix, but at least he may try, and at certain times succeed. But, an optimist will be completely oblivious that there ever was a problem. Without any attempts to patch things up, a downward spiral of death, carnage, and chaos ensues.
  • Losing first impressions. Do you really want to walk around introducing yourself to people when your head looks like a smiley face? Do you think people will take you seriously? Do you even want to get making that face… you know it could get stuck that way.



  • Huge let downs. If you’re always the type of person that always expects the best to happen to you, you are very much bound to be let down — often. You can avoid this, and be in a much better place, if you never set those expectations so unrealistically high.



  • Create unhappiness. The happiest nation in the world are the Danes. Researchers into happiness have got a good guess as to why this is. It’s because they do not expect great things to happen, so anything above average that occurs during their day-to-day feels like a huge victory. Being an optimist deprives you of this satisfaction.


The message here is not to become a downright pessimist; it’s to remain realistic. There are definitely ways to have a positive outlook on things without taking it too far. Do you have a story where optimism failed you or someone you know? Share it in the comments below.

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Alex Shalman

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