An obvious difference between these two terms are their definitions. Pessimistic is defined as tending to see the worst aspect of things or believing that the worst will happen. Realistic is specified as showing a practical idea of what can be expected.
So why are they both used in the same light?
Nowadays, people of all ages have failed to differentiate the meaning of looking at a situation realistically and looking at it negatively.
I always thought that my brother was very, very pessimistic before I read this blog post by Jeff on his blog The Typical Parable. He always seemed to state the wrong things at certain times, that if I look back at them, are pretty logical. I remember my first cross country race that I went to. I was thinking, watching the other races, “OK, what place will I bee in 4th? 7th?” I remember the ill feeling I had when my brother proclaimed that I probably wont get either of those places, considering that I was a beginner runner and the field I was running in was bound to have runners that have been running their whole lives. It was grim reality, but reality none the less. I recall placing 128th in that race (Yeah, way different from expectations), and feeling devastated, and also reevaluating my running capacity and the level of fitness I possessed.
Pessimism is, in my opinion, the worst state of mentality. Sure optimism can hurt if you don’t meet a goal or standard, but it allows you to rebound stronger and with new vigor. Pessimism will hold you down. If you go into a test thinking, “Wow! I do not know most of the content in this test cause the class is so boring . I am going to do so bad.” You most likely will end up doing bad. You will most likely do better with a realistic, “Okay, I do not remember much, but I will do OK because I did go to that class and I did try to learn. Some of the information definitely is in my head.”
Realism may be grim most times, but it is not to be confused with realism. A realistic view will not focus on the negative aspects only, but will allow some positive thought to logically predict the outcome. The perfect balance will grant you the power to lead a successful life, and will make you fun to be around.
Link to Jeff’s blog: http://koreanwhipcream.wordpress.com/