I prefer realism more than pessimism or optimism. Others may see me differently, but for purposes of this post, give me the benefit of the doubt. It helps me maintain that view when I surround myself with others who share the same perspective.
Constant pessimism is a drain. I don’t want to be around such people. Extreme optimism can appear to be mindless denial of reality that only sets one up for regular disappointment. Somewhere in between those two is the more balanced, healthier place to dwell. Allowing yourself to be unduly influenced toward either extreme by others is done at your own peril.
Two enormous influences are always at work on us. One is the voice from within that may be anywhere on the scale of optimistic to pessimistic at any given time. While it provides moments of great clarity and inner guidance, it can also steer us off course. The other is the voice from those around us who influence us in many ways whether we admit it or not.
Yesterday in a monthly all-day team meeting at work, one of my colleagues intentionally pushed the limits on distracting others by saying out loud every word of an email as he typed it. He was just being a little devilish to push some buttons at the end of a long week before we headed out for the weekend. After about a minute, our manager mentioned how distracting that was, keeping him from concentrating on what he was trying to do at the time. It perfectly illustrated my point, though, that the louder the external voices around us are, the harder it is to hear and be guided by that inner voice which is more likely to steer us correctly.
I hope that the inner voice within most others I do business with prefers the sweet spot of realism somewhere in the middle of that line between optimism and pessimism. If it doesn’t, then it is up to me to tune out the distractions that hinder by whatever means necessary in order to listen to the wiser voice within.
Leap year lesson #235 is Listen to the voice of realism.