There are thousands of ways to approach life. Some people are pessimists, some are optimists and some claim to be realists. However, most people are a little bit of everything. The difference between each category is who they decide to be.

Proliferation of pessimists

Pessimists are your negative Nancys who always see the glass half-empty. Saturday Night Live illustrated it best in a sketch called Debbie Downer. It featured Rachel Dratch as the eternal pessimist Debbie. No matter how much good news her friends had to share with her, whether it be a recent engagement or new home purchase, Debbie always found the downside.

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In fact, Debbie was so pessimistic that in one sketch, Dratch actually broke character and laughed through the whole sketch because Debbie was so depressing that it became funny. Most people think it's easy to be negative all the time, but it takes hard work to turn something wonderful into something horrible. In that light, who could blame Dratch for laughing.

The eternal optimists

The optimist is on the other end of the happiness spectrum. These are people who see the good in everything. For them, every situation, good or bad, is an opportunity. If the day starts bad, it's just another opportunity for it to get better. If it ends bad, then that's an opportunity to learn why the day didn't go well and do better tomorrow. These people enjoy life and other people like being around them. Most studies conclude that optimists do not receive more opportunities than pessimists, but they do tend to recognize them more than pessimists.

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Winston Churchill once said, "The optimist sees opportunity in every danger; the pessimist sees danger in every opportunity." To put it simply, where there is risk, an optimist sees reward.

Realists vs. reality

The third group of people are realists. These are people who claim to see things as they are. They are neither hot nor cold, happy nor sad. The problem is that while it's usually good to take the middle ground, at some point you have to stand for something.

The argument can be made that these people tell the truth about a situation, but that's subjective to the person. If you take any scenario and ask a realist, pessimist and an optimist to explain what happened, you're going to get three very different stories. In the case of the realists, while it's good to be fair, it's better to positive.

Who do you choose to be?

In any case, these are three states of being and it really just depends on who you want to be.

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When you meet a friend, do you want to be the person who cheers them up or brings them down or do you want to tell them like it is? Whatever you choose, that is your contribution to the world. Being happy or negative is just as much about you as it is about other people. Who you project is how the world receives you and you can choose to be happy at any time.

Defending Your Life, a film starring Albert Brooks explains it perfectly. It's about a man who has spent most of his life not taking chances. He comes to the end of his life and has to choose to be courageous in order to make it to heaven. There's a great scene in the film where his love interest (Meryl Streep) is watching her life review, which is overwhelmingly positive and fun, juxtaposed with Brooks life review, which is filled with trauma and sadness. In that respect, if you were watching your life review right now, what would you want to see? All you have to do next is take the necessary steps to become that person and make your dreams a reality.

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