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Optimism vs. Pragmatism

Put these two in the boxing ring… and almost everyone in the audience will vote for ‘optimism’ and fail to even recognize ‘pragmatism’ as its rival. Why?

With 75% (just a random assumption!!!) of the world’s population being in some kind of crisis… be it professional or personal, the only words of wisdom they keep hearing from their “well-wishers” are “BE OPTIMISTIC” (B+). Does it help you, me or for that matter anyone to hear these comforting statements??? It’s like the case of being put into a tiger’s cage and standing in front of a bunch of hungry tigers… and being optimistic that you will come out alive in one piece.

Alas, somewhere in all the worldly worries that have been plaguing us, we seem to have lost a sense of reality… thereby introducing a dichotomy in the optimism-pragmatism relationship. And this has affected everything… some of my like-minded fellow writers have even attributed this optimism cult as a harbinger of the crisis. Maybe or maybe not!!!

You can see two contrasting schools of thought in these articles:
Loving life with Optimism
How Positive Thinking wrecked the Economy

Well, I am not against being happy. Optimism is definitely needed… but in a controlled measure with a parallel dose of pragmatism. An overdose of it has resulted in a staggering shift from reality. Shifting gears to the business context, no longer is business decision making rational… whereby pragmatism would ensure business leaders’ ears are as closer to the ground as possible while their eyes are set towards the skies.

So, while hope and faith is there to rule our minds as we traverse through these myriad crises, it is important for us to be real… by having a realistic mixture of optimism and pragmatism. So, who wins? Neither optimism nor pragmatism can win battles on their own… but together, they can ensure maximum impact.

Here’s to pragmoptimism!!!

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  1. March 21, 2010 at 12:13 pm

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