Being optimistic does not mean unrealistic

I’m one of those people that prefers to look for the positives in life. Obviously just like most people, I get days where I’m unhappy or where I worry and think about all the bad things, but overall, I would like to think I am a pretty positive and optimistic person.

SmileWhat sometimes frustrates me is when people argue with me and tell me that the way I view the world is ‘unrealistic’ or ‘naive’.

They will tell me that ‘life is hard’, ‘it’s not as easy’ as I make it out to be, I am ‘just lucky’ that I have been successful, I am taking the easy route by choosing to do a PhD rather than getting a job so I can’t understand what it’s like in the ‘real world’. What is this ‘real world’ that they are talking about? The last time I checked, we were all living in the same world- the very same, very real world.

I’m not going to lie, maybe I do have it easy. I have a loving family, a good education, amazing friends, and we aren’t living in poverty. So, maybe I don’t know what it’s like to live as someone who has nothing, no hope, no money, where success is unachievable. However, the majority of people that tell me that my optimistic views are ‘unrealistic’ are people in a similar situation to myself.

They laugh and joke that my moral of ‘success comes from hard work’ is naive and that it’s a lot harder in ‘real life’. I know that it’s hard, that’s why it is called ‘hard work’. What is the point of looking at it as something that can’t be achieved because it is ‘too hard’. Why should we make everything seem even more difficult to achieve by telling each other that it’s harder than we think? We should be cheering each other on and supporting each other.

My choice of doing a PhD rather than getting a job was not an easy one- I had to ensure I would have the funds to get me through another 3-4 years of getting paid barely anything, there is no promotion on a PhD, unlike in a job where you would probably get a pay rise after a couple of years or the possibility of changing companies to a better paid position. A PhD is not ‘easy’ as my friends will tell you- they’re constantly stressed out, this was all something I knew and considered before making my decision.

I don’t jump into situations willy nilly thinking that everything will be OK because my life is always sun shining and rainbows in the sky. At the same time, I don’t allow myself to let negative thoughts stop me from what I want to do and stop me from achieving what I want to achieve. There are already so many barriers in life and so many hurdles we have to jump to achieve our goals- why make more hurdles for ourselves?

Being optimistic and concentrating on the positives doesn’t mean that I am ignoring the possibilities of failure, it is simply knowing that life will be hard and sometimes it doesn’t go our way, but if I try my best to achieve my goal, I can be proud of myself with no regrets no matter what the outcome.

Maybe the PhD won’t work out, perhaps I will be no better off after doing it than if I got a job straight after my undergrad, perhaps I will run out of money and need my parents to bail me out orΒ  I don’t get that dream job- well if that’s the case, then I will be happy knowing that I’ve tried and I will still try my best to turn my situation back around. I am the person that makes my life what it is, the only way I can succeed in my life is by believing that I can succeed and taking each step forward knowing that I will get there.



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