The optimist with high reality testing is a gold mine
- Optimists make more money and are more loyal. In a study with life insurance agents, Seligman found that the most optimistic salespeople sold 88 percent more than the most pessimistic ones. The study also indicated that agents in the least optimistic quarter were three times likelier to quit than agents in the most optimistic quarter. Other studies have shown that this data is consistent with findings in other business categories.
- The optimist with high reality testing is a gold mine. Optimism is not about fooling yourself and being all rosy; it is about seeing options to reality–i.e., being an “optionist.” That requires having a good lock on what is actually happening. To be a successful optimist, you must also have an accurate barometer on reality. If you are correct about reality, you can become an excellent “optionist.” Most people think of optimists as flaky nonrealists, which they can be if their perception of reality is distorted. If you are an optimist based in realism, you are statistically more likely to make more money.
- Pessimists are more accurate about reality than optimists. When good things happen, pessimists are accurate. When bad things happen, again they are accurate. For the optimist, when good things happen, they are accurate; but when bad things happen, they are less accurate. Therein lies the gift they have. Optimists think that there are more options when bad things happen. So they try different things in order to get out of a jam. Serious pessimists usually give up once they think the outcome is foretold.
- There is nothing wrong with being a pessimist. If your job requires high accuracy, pessimism may actually benefit you. Look out for what I explain in the next bullet before you succumb to pessimism, though.
- Pessimists are more likely to become depressed than their optimistic counterparts. If an optimist loses a job, it will take, on average, four to six weeks to get back into the hunt. If a pessimist loses a job, it can take three to six months before emerging to see the light.
- Optimists keep moving forward because they believe there are options.Pessimists don’t usually persist in the face of setbacks and can be prone to inertia. When salespeople are rejected again and again, it is the optimist who makes another phone call while the pessimist gets down in the mouth and gives up.