Over at Romance Worth Killing For today, Joan is blogging about personality masks, and in the comments, there's a cool conversation going on about optimism vs. pessimism. The whole conversation about whether your optimistic or pessimistic traits are inborn or learned got me thinking about a new angle.
As a confirmed realist, I'm discovered that much of the world frowns on those who are not vibrantly optimistic. Sorry, although I don't see the glass as half-empty with a hole in it, I don't see it as half-full, either. It's just a glass and it isn't full. Only half-so.
See? Realism. ;-)
Anyway, I am not an optimist.
I am, however, full of perseverance. My grandmother called it hard-headedness. I was not allowed to have the word "can't" in my vocabulary. She had two favorite sayings: "Can't never could" and "Can't's not a word. He fell off the fence and broke his neck." So whenever I said I couldn't do something, I had to keep trying until I could.
She wasn't much of an optimist, either. She'd lived what could only be described as a hard life and believed her reward would come not on this earth, but in Heaven. I think that the kind of hardships she endured tend to reinforce the realistic traits in people. Sometimes it's hard to look on the bright side when you're so low there's nothing to look forward to.
However, she had perseverance. She had stick-to-it-tiveness, that quality that has one getting up and keeping on after being knocked down, putting one foot before the other when things are not good.
I know in my experience that trait has been far more valuable than seeing a glass as half-full. That's what got me through college when I'd been told repeatedly I'd never finish. That's what got me through teaching several years at a really tough school when the principal told me I wouldn't last six months. That's what got me through rejection after rejection when I started writing seriously.
It's what will get me through everything that lies before me.
What do you think? Optimism or perseverance?