I have heard a lot of people, perhaps more so in the younger generations, jump on the growing bandwagon that promotes being realistic much more than being positive. I have seen this in almost all environments/situations of life, but especially so in business settings. I must admit, as a business and technology consultant for many years, it has been my job to infuse doses of reality into organizations/people that were “unreasonably” positive when they could have been either 1) realistic or 2) tepid as they admitted their lack of knowledge about a situation.

As a further setup to this discussion, here we have three scenarios:

  1. realistic, knowing one is educated on the reality of a situation
  2. more positive than tepid, knowing one is not educated on the reality of a situation
  3. more positive than reality, knowing one is educated on the reality of a situation

Primarily remaining are scenarios where people are more negative than realistic. There are certainly strategies where being “unreasonably” negative can offer valuable perspective and cause actions that can result in good, but we will assume for now that being realistic or tepid over being negative is a better choice for ourselves and those around us in general. We will ignore those and other permutations to keep the scope of this specific to a discussion of being positive versus realistic.

In many ways, being realistic is equated to being smart and well adjusted. Being positive is equated to being “less than smart” and often times socially annoying to the realistic/smart bunch that assumes they just know better. But maybe it is time to challenge this way of thinking and the associated judging that comes with it. Positive people probably deserve much better after all.

It is possible that some positive people are consciously being unreasonably positive. Why? I can think of some potential reasons:

  1. It makes them feel better
  2. It makes them more successful
  3. It makes those around them feel better
  4. It makes those around them more successful
  5. They recognize that positivity (as a synonym to hopefulness) is actually an evolved trait that advances humankind while potentially sacrificing a few individuals/situations…they are perhaps just evolved and naturally prone to being unreasonably positive!
  6. It accomplishes a side goal of sometimes annoying ultra-realistic people that are sometimes annoyingly realistic