You may not be able to control events but you can control the way you react to them. Here are three basic differences in the reactions of optimists and pessimists:
1. Control your reactions and responses.
An optimist sees a setback as temporary, while the pessimist sees it as permanent. The optimist sees an unfortunate event as a temporary event, something that is limited in time and that has no real impact on the future. The pessimist, on the other hand, sees negative events as permanent, as part of life and destiny.
2. Isolate the incident.
An optimist sees difficulties as specific, while the pessimist sees them as pervasive. This means that when things go wrong for the optimist, he looks at the event as an isolated incident largely disconnected from other things that are going on in his life.
For example, if something you were counting on failed to materialize and you interpreted it to yourself as being an unfortunate event, just something that happens in the course of life and business, you would be reacting like an optimist. The pessimist, on the other hand, sees disappointments as being inescapable. To him they are indications of a problem or shortcoming that pervades every area of life.
3. Don't take failure personally.
Optimists see events as external, while pessimists interpret events as personal. When things go wrong, the optimist will tend to see the setback as resulting from external factors over which one has little control.