Pessimist or Optimist

“When I grew up there was a marked difference between a pessimist and an optimist. Today however, few admit to being pessimists, placing themselves rather in the realist category. Regardless of the label or name put on it, it is still a pessimistic person’s view of opportunity. In other words, it is just a different way of saying you don’t see the opportunity or the diamond in the rough. In reality, an optimist has eyes to see opportunity whereas, the pessimist does not. In essence an optimist views life through optimistic glasses…” — Rick Cox

You will not have lived too very long before you encounter those who are pessimists and those who are optimists. Pessimists are easy to pinpoint even when they double talk like the so called realists mentioned above. Have you ever given this any thought? Do you know what it means to be a pessimist? Do you know what it means to be an optimist?

Pessimist: One who holds the doctrine or belief the existing world is the worst possible; that evil in life will always outweigh the good; has the tendency to expect misfortune or the worst outcome; has the tendency to always look on the dark side of things.

This person may or may not be successful in business, but even when successful they are not happy for they always think the worst. Their personal lives are the same. They fear the worst is yet to come or the other shoe is yet to fall; that evil will prevail. They see the obstacle in front of every opportunity with the obstacle always being too big for them to tackle or take on. They make mountains out of mole hills. They can turn sweetened lemonade into a grapefruit experience.

Optimist: One who holds the doctrine or belief the existing world is the best possible; that good will prevail over evil; has the tendency to take the most hopeful or cheerful view; has the tendency to expect the best outcome; has the tendency to always look at the bright side of everything.

This person is almost always successful in their business life as well as their personal life due to their belief all things will work out to their benefit. It is true these usually have more than their share of obstacles to overcome, problems with which to deal, turmoil’s and heartaches, but they turn lemon sour circumstances into sweet tasting lemonade.

When my family and I returned to Phoenix, Arizona after living in the Midwest for a few years where I attended college, we rented a home. After living in that home for a year, we decided to look for an inexpensive home to purchase. I had taken a low paying job, which went along with what I felt was my calling. My wife on the other hand was working two jobs with very long hours at both. Our children at the time were five and two. With both of us working long hours, time was precious and hard to come by and so was money. Shortly thereafter, a friend in the real estate business told us of a repossessed home, which would be sold to the highest sealed bidder and asked if we were interested in bidding. We believed it to be the right thing to do so; we agreed to place a bid.

The real estate friend and I went to look at the home with a few others. The doors and gates were not locked so, anyone could walk into or around the home to inspect it. The condition of the home was appalling. To say it was disgusting would not have painted a realistic picture of the true condition of this home. It appeared all of the furniture was still in the home, but no one had lived it or cleaned it up for at least eighteen months. The dressers and closets still had clothes in them. There were dishes, pots, pans, and all sorts of personal property left in the home. There were also two cats and three dogs, which had either taken up residence or were left there by the original owners. Due to the fact the animals were living in the home and no one was there to clean up, there were thousands of ticks on the floors and walls as well as in the furniture and carpet. It was quite obvious the contents were beyond being ready for the garbage dump.

To make matters worse, the water and electricity had been turned off and locked. As a matter of fact, it appeared someone had previously tried jumping the wires for the electrical service, which had been cut and coiled back ensuring there would be no way of jumping or reconnecting the wires without the utility company making some needed repairs. The refrigerator still had food in it, but the food was rotted and moldy. There was molded bread and other food in the cupboards. Some of the food looked like science projects. The toilets were disgusting as they were full of sewage and, with no running water there was no way to flush or clean them. There were either animal or human feces all over the walls. The stench of the feces and the smell of urine were so strong it was hard not to throw up. There was dirt and filth three to four inches deep in every room. Cockroaches were everywhere and under any and everything. We even found them in the drawers as well as under the clothes and in the shoes in the closet.

We learned from the surrounding neighbors, the couple that owned the home, were separated. Either one or the other would drop off their two children at the home. One child was eleven and the other nine. The children were often left on their own for several days before one of the parents would come by to pick them up. Obviously, this meant the children were staying and sleeping in this disgusting home with no running water or electricity and no food for days at a time. The thought of any parent doing this to their children or allowing this to happen to their home was beyond belief.

Well, the day came when it was time to take my wife to see the home. We took several other ladies from our church as well as the realtor along with us. As we pulled up to the home with my wife and the other ladies getting their first view of the outside of the home, they all looked at each other with the “Oh My God”, look. It was obvious it was the worst home in the entire neighborhood and perhaps for miles around. It looked like a home in the projects. As bad as it looked outside however, this didn’t tell the true story of the horrors that lay within. After walking around the home we finally entered. It was at this point my wife and her lady friends saw what a few of us had already seen and as a result they ALL burst into tears. They could not believe the condition of the home and moreover, could not believe anyone would submit a bid on this dump.

The truth was I saw something different. I saw an opportunity to purchase a diamond in the rough and get it for a steal. In my eyes I could use previously learned skills and other talents to turn this cloudy quartz looking rock into a diamond. I could turn this dump into beautiful home for our family and get it at a price we could afford.

The home was to be sold as is with all contents becoming the property of the successful bidder. Our thoughts were who would want the contents for it certainly wasn’t us. Over the protest of the ladies and initially my wife, she and I finally agreed to move forward and were successful bidders at a very low price. We wound up getting a home with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, which had a fenced back yard, pool, patio, and two car garage. It took over a year, but because of an optimistic vision we were able to take what no one else wanted and turn it into something we later sold for three times what we paid.

During the time of clean up and remodel, these ladies came over to take pictures. The finished product however, was not recognizable from the pictures of the house as purchased. It was the optimistic glasses we wore that enabled us to see a diamond in the rough where others saw no potential at all.

What type of eyes or which set of glasses are you looking through? All you need do is make the commitment to look through the eyes and lenses of the optimist. If the glasses you are wearing do not allow you to see Opportunity, take them off and put on the optimistic ones. You will like what you see. Life will look quite different for it will take on a much more promising dimension.

Best of LUCK as you
Labor Under Correct Knowledge…


Rick Cox