You’ve just shared your big goal or new idea and then, bam! Someone says, “You can’t do that!” This person then talks about you not having the skill, time, money, or experience to be successful. After informing you of their reasoning, they proceed to tell you that they are a “realist” just looking out for your benefit.
Pessimist– a person who habitually sees or anticipates the worst or is disposed to be gloomy
Realist– a person who tends to view or represent things as they really are
One of the biggest obstacles I see clients face, is deciding who to listen to and who’s words should go in one ear and out the other. Today, with information being so easily accessible online, a lot of people think they’re experts on everything (even if they’ve just skimmed a Wikipedia page). While most people can offer insight in some way, I recommend that you consider one question. Is this person doing what I want to do and living the way I want to live? If the answer is no (on any account), those words shouldn’t be considered too seriously. Opinions come a dime a dozen, and there are many reasons why pessimistic people try to influence others. Some of the most common I’ve seen are:
- They’ve never done it before successfully– making them not really knowledgeable enough to have a meaningful contribution
- They are afraid for you/or themselves– most people live in fear and it prevents them from stepping out and taking chances
- They’re insecure/jealous– the thought of you accomplishing something they haven’t attained, doesn’t sit well
The honest truth is that listening to and believing a pessimist will most likely leave you in the same position that person is in. Sometimes we can’t completely cut off pessimistic people. They might be your family members, friends, or co-workers. Here are 5 steps to dealing with a pessimist, disguised as a realist.
1. Stay focused on what you want– Pessimists usually focus on negative emotions and outcomes. If you believe in yourself and your goals, there is no need to be consumed by their thoughts of fear, doubt, or worry. It can be hard to stay rational if they are emotional, but the key is to not get caught up in their story or predictions.
2. Accept their right to an opinion– At the same time, everyone has a right to their own opinion. If you’re in the position where you feel compelled to listen to their negativity (perhaps its your mom, dad, or colleague), accept it for the opinion that it is. This doesn’t have to be your truth or future.
3. Keep it positive– Positivity offsets negativity. There isn’t much purpose in spiraling through a bunch of negative scenarios or getting defensive with a pessimist. Neither of those things moves you closer to your goals, so it’s wise to avoid any conflict.
4. Limit your time– Once you see that someone is a pessimist, its beneficial to start limiting your time with them. If you’re constantly around people who complain and place blame that tends to become your mindset as well. Those negative thoughts can slowly become a reality, if you aren’t careful.
5. Create a new support system– The people around you either add or take away from your happiness. Start surrounding yourself with people who are positive and can help you reach your goals. Look for people who will give you their real and honest opinions, but not in a hurtful or mean way.
How do you handle pessimists in your life? Staying focused on your goals and remaining positive can go a long way in creating your own success. If you’d like to achieve results faster and have a greater impact, consider working with a coach or mentor. Sometimes it can be difficult to ask for help or step out in a big way, but it’s definitely worth it. Don’t let your dream die inside of you, regardless of what anyone else has to say!
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