How a PMP Project Manager Can Kill the Pessimistic Dragon

by David Ryback, Ph.D.

Kill the DragonIs there a danger that the optimist overlooks the harsher aspects of reality in order to stay optimistic? Only under the most dire of circumstances, as we’ve seen. Otherwise, the optimist realizes what is and takes charge of a situation, giving it meaning as a controllable enterprise. Are optimists overwhelmed by unhappy circumstances that interfere with rose-colored vision? Optimists are human and prone to being stressed by overwhelming misfortune but are less prone to such events than are pessimists. Take charge and fix a situation to the greatest extent possible. In business it means seeing what is in terms of what can be done to remedy a situation, not resignation to failure. Optimism gives positive meaning to challenges by the control that can be manifested in changing things for the better.

“Foolish hope” always trumps learned helplessness. No matter how trying and difficult the circumstances choose steps toward success.

Think moderately about extreme outcomes. Whether an outcome is extremely good or extremely bad, remember that you’re not the only cause of it, that even this won’t last forever, and that it’s not the center of the world.

No matter how challenging a situation, even those that seem impossible to control, your best approach is to be realistic about the details, take charge, and aim for the best. That’s all you can do and it’s the best you can do.

The dragon of pessimism can be slain – it just takes intention and commitment.

If you found these tips from David Ryback, Ph.D. of value and are a PMP looking to earn PMI PDUs, you might be interested in his self-paced, downloadable courses at


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