What is a Realistic Person? Embracing Pragmatism

A realistic person is someone who can effectively balance their optimism in achieving an outcome while not disregarding reality. They are aware that what they aspire to achieve may not always be feasible and are willing to adapt their expectations and actions accordingly.

Having a sense of pragmatism enables individuals to make mindful decisions and find practical solutions to problems they encounter in their personal and professional lives. Being realistic allows for a balanced and stable approach to situations, which can lead to positive outcomes.

The Traits of a Realistic Person

Realistic people possess a range of traits that help them excel in their personal and professional lives. These traits include:

  • Objectivity: A realistic person is impartial and unbiased when thinking about how to approach a situation. They are not swayed only by positive or negative emotions but consider all the available information critically.
  • Practicality: They exhibit a practical approach towards their goals, recognizing that it may not always be possible to pursue what they want to achieve. They adjust expectations and find practical ways to tackle problems.
  • Open-mindedness: A realistic person is receptive to new ideas and ways of thinking, which allows them to devise more creative solutions to problems.
  • Honesty: Realistic individuals are truthful in their interactions with others and themselves, which is critical for objective thinking and decision making.
  • Flexibility: Realistic people are adaptable and understand that circumstances can change rapidly. They are quick to adjust and switch to alternative strategies to ensure that they can achieve their goals.

The Advantages of Being Realistic

Being realistic has numerous benefits that may enhance our overall wellbeing and success in life.

Mindfulness and Emotional Stability

Realistic people have an awareness of their strengths and limitations; they have a clear understanding of what they can achieve and how they can achieve it. Such knowledge enables them to make informed decisions, be confident, and have a stable sense of self-esteem.

Effective Problem-Solving Skills

A realistic person can solve problems more effectively than an idealistic individual. They approach challenges with a practical and level-headed mindset, meaning they are better equipped to find viable solutions to problems in a timely manner.

Improved Relationships

The honesty, practicality, and adaptability of a realistic person translate into their relationships with others as well. They can make more realistic commitments and deliver on their promises, which leads to stronger and more stable relationships.

Enhanced Success in Professional Life

Realistic people are likely to be more successful in their professional lives than someone who is solely idealistic. They exhibit a practical approach to their work, giving them an advantage when it comes to goal setting and project management.

How to Develop Realistic Thinking Skills

Developing realistic thinking skills is essential for making a positive shift in your life. Below are some tips to help you build these skills:

Identify Your Motivations

Take some time to reflect on your motivations, intentions, and goals. Be candid with yourself about the reasons why you set specific goals and objectives.

Focus on Realistic Approaches

Use a rational and objective approach when developing strategies for achieving your objectives. Ensure that your goals are achievable, and set realistic expectations for success.

Find a Mentor or Model Realistic Behavior

Having a mentor or someone who exhibits realistic behavior can be an excellent guide for developing your own skills. Look for someone whose approach to situations and decision-making aligns with your own goals.

Practice Self-reflection and Honesty

Engage in frequent self-reflection and assess your actions, behaviors, and approach to achieving your objectives. Be honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses, and be willing to adapt your strategies accordingly.

The Dangers of Unrealistic Thinking

While having an optimistic outlook and a positive mindset is beneficial, it is essential to understand the pitfalls of being too idealistic. Below are some of the negative effects of an unrealistic approach:

Increased Risk of Failure

An overly optimistic approach can raise expectations and set unattainable goals. This situation increases the likelihood of falling short and risk of disappointment, causing harm to one’s morale and self-esteem.

Missed Opportunities

Unrealistic thinking can lead to missed opportunities because you only have a limited perspective. Being too focused on an idealistic goal can prevent you from paying attention to other meaningful opportunities which may come your way.

Damage to Relationships

Setting unrealistic goals and expectations in a relationship can lead to frustration, disappointment, anger, and resentment. This outcome can cause significant harm to the relationship dynamic, and in the long run, may damage the bond entirely.

Emotional Strain

An unrealistic mindset can lead to emotional strain and mental exhaustion as individuals may be unwilling or unable to adjust their expectations of what they desire or want to achieve.


Being realistic is a critical skill that allows individuals to balance their aspirations and remain grounded in reality. It helps you make informed decisions about your goals, approaches to situations, and improves your personal relationships and professional prospects.


  • What is the definition of a realistic person?

    A realistic person is someone who is aware that what they aspire to achieve may not always be feasible. They have the ability to adapt their expectations and actions accordingly.
  • What are the traits of a realistic person?

    Realistic people possess traits such as objectivity, practicality, open-mindedness, honesty, and flexibility.
  • What are the advantages of being realistic?

    Being realistic has advantages, such as mindfulness and emotional stability, effective problem-solving skills, improved relationships, and enhanced success in professional life.
  • How can one develop realistic thinking skills?

    One can develop realistic thinking skills by reflecting on motivations, focusing on realistic approaches, finding mentors or modeling realistic behavior, and engaging in frequent self-reflection and honesty.
  • What are the dangers of unrealistic thinking?

    Unrealistic thinking can lead to increased risk of failure, missed opportunities, damage to relationships, and emotional strain.


1. Cottrell, S. P. (2007). Skills for success: Personal development and employability. Palgrave Macmillan.

2. Marks, D. (2010). The psychology of the entrepreneur. Cambridge University Press.

3. Smith, M. J., & Steel, R. P. (2020). An examination of the relationships between realism and positive organizational outcomes. Journal of Business and Psychology, 35(4), 429-444.

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