There are two interesting personality types, as well as a third that is situationally dependent. I am referring to optimists, the people who see the glass as half full, and pessimists, the rest of us. There has been a substantial amount of social psychological research on the differences between optimists and pessimists and the interested reader is urged to read the current opinions on the topic. My husband/business partner is the “eternal optimist,” who sees the good in people and has hope for a positive resolution in every situation. He is often disappointed when things don’t turn out as he had hoped or when people’s bad side seems to be their only side. I, on the other hand, having observed far too many people through one way mirrors in social psychological experiments or mock trials, have a pessimistic view of people and situations. Unlike my husband, I am rarely disappointed because I am expecting the worst and, in the event something turns out well, I am both surprised and pleased with the outcome. The balance realized by our differing personalities is something we find helpful in achieving our goals. For our marriage and business partnership, the blend of optimism and pessimism provides a check and balance we wouldn’t otherwise have.
I prefer to see the glass as half full, especially if there is a beverage in it. I realize that there may be more disappointments this way but the difference in personalities may also be a chicken or egg question. Because much of my job today in the trial consulting world involves marketing and business development, without an optimistic outlook, these tasks could be very depressing. Even when I worked as a freelance commercial photographer, the same personality gave me a hope of being hired on an assignment. Eeyore from Winnie-the-Pooh stories is, per Wikipedia, generally characterized as a pessimistic, gloomy, depressed… Eeyore would probably not do well in marketing. However, reality is probably somewhere between optimism and pessimism so being part of a team with both personalities is a good thing. The scary part is when the roles reverse!