Amy Rees Anderson

The differences between optimists and pessimists

“In the long run the pessimist may be proven right, but the optimist had a better time on the trip.” –Daniel L. Reardon

I love Brian Tracy. He is a motivational speaker who has some great books and audio recordings that have helped me a lot over the years. He shares some thoughts on the differences between optimists and pessimists and gives some advice on how to become more optimistic. I will share it in his own words:

“There are three basic differences in the reactions of optimists and pessimists. The first difference is that the optimist sees a setback as temporary, while the pessimist sees it as permanent…

The second difference between the optimist and the pessimist is that the optimist sees difficulties as specific, while the pessimist sees them as pervasive. This means that when things go wrong for the optimist, he looks at the event as an isolated incident largely disconnected from other things that are going on in his life…The pessimist, on the other hand, sees disappointments as being pervasive. That is, to him they are indications of a problem or shortcoming that pervades every area of life.

The third difference between optimists and pessimists is that optimists see events as external, while pessimists interpret events as personal. When things go wrong, the optimist will tend to see the setback as resulting from external factors over which one has little control…The pessimist on the other hand, has a tendency to take everything personally…

Look on the inevitable setbacks that you face as being temporary, specific and external. View the negative situation as a single event that is not connected to other potential events and that is caused largely by external factors over which you can have little control. Simply refuse to see the event as being in any way permanent, pervasive or indicative of personal incompetence of inability.  Resolve to think like an optimist, no matter what happens. You may not be able to control events but you can control the way you react to them.”

Brian Tracy suggests these Action Exercises to help you be more optimistic:

“First, remind yourself continually that setbacks are only temporary, they will soon be past and nothing is as serious as you think it is.

Second, look upon each problem as a specific event, not connected to other events and not indicative of a pattern of any kind. Deal with it and get on with your life.

Third, recognize that when things go wrong, they are usually caused by a variety of external events. Say to yourself, ‘What can’t be cured must be endured,’ and then get back to thinking about your goals.”

Love Brian Tracy and love his action exercises! Try them!!

~Amy Rees Anderson


  • Dale Blosser says:

    As I said a few months back, I love your stuff. You have a wonderful mind…and probably family as well. Seldom do I see a typo in your work, but today you left out an “i” in the first “optimists”. Keep up the good work. Maybe I can send you some of my stories like, “My Name is Marie.” DC Blosser, President of the Amy Rees Anderson Fan Club

  • Loa Anderson says:

    Good advice. What day is your birthday. Missed putting it on the calendar. Love Loa and Boyd

  • Jane says:

    I’m an optimist and have always had a hard time understanding what makes me different from pessimists and why I see things differently. Now I know. Thank you so much for sharing this. I’ve never seen an explanation before.

  • Odige Esther says:

    U work is amazing and beautiful.It hslas made me know the reason why I have not given up on my dreams despite the difficulties and challenges I gone through. Thanks and God bless u.

  • Odige Esther says:

    Ur work is amazing and beautiful. It has made me to know why I have not given up on my dreams despite the difficulties and challenges I gone through. Thanks and God bless u.

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