50 Realist Quotes For Optimists and Pessimists

These realist quotes ride the middle road between pessimism and optimism.

What does it mean to be a realist? 

A realist is a person who accepts situations for what they are and is prepared to deal with them accordingly.

Being a realist means representing yourself in a way that is accurate and true to life.

Sometimes people who are realists are confused for being pessimists. 

A pessimist is a person who sees the worst-case scenario as the more critical aspect of the experience.

Realists have to consider a situation’s logistical and immediate implications; sometimes, these perceptions get confused with pessimism. 

However, a realist would argue they are making decisions based on evidence and critical thinking, not emotional responses. 

What does being a realist mean to you?

What are the qualities of a realist?

Find out more in these realist quotes below. 

If you enjoy this article, check out our collection of optimistic quotes to crush negativity.

Meaningful realist quotes

1. “I’m a realist.” Jeanine Pirro 

2. “I’m a realist.” Tony Cardenas 

3. “I’m very much a realist.” Leanne Caret 

4. “I consider myself a realist.” John McCain

5. “I’m a realist about how the networks work.” Mark Frost 

6. “I’m a realist about who really reads books and who acts like they read books.” Mary Pilon

7. “I have realized that my time has come and gone. I’m not bitter, just a realist.” Jasper Carrott 

8. “I refuse to use terms like ‘optimist’ or ‘pessimist’ and instead prefer ‘realist.’” David Petraeus 

9. “I’m a realist, and so we have to take what exists and continue to struggle to move forward.” Danny K. Davis 

10. “I’m a realist, not a sugar coater. I believe in always letting people know what their obstacles are. And at the end of the day, I just want to be respected for my hard work.” Tichina Arnold 

Optimist vs. realist quotes

11. “I try to be a realist and not a pessimist or an optimist.” Yuval Noah Harari 

12. “I’m an optimistic realist. I kind of expect the worst but prepare for the best.” Trixie Mattel 

13. “Optimism means better than reality; pessimism means worse than reality. I’m a realist.” Margaret Atwood 

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14. “No one wants to follow a pessimist… You can be skeptical, you can be realistic, but you can’t be cynical.” Bob Iger

15. “I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter.”  Walt Disney

16. “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” William Arthur Ward

17. “People who are too optimistic seem annoying. This is an unfortunate misinterpretation of what an optimist really is.” Vera Nazarian

18. “As such, an optimist always sees the big picture. How else to keep track of all that’s out there? An optimist is simply a proactive realist.” Vera Nazarian

19. “A lot of people have asked me whether I am a cynic or take a cynical view of politics and are often surprised when I say that I consider myself an optimist, but an optimist dressed in the robes of a realist.” Beau Willimon 

20. “To all Realist, Optimist, and Pessimist Society; While you were arguing about my attitude, personality, and character, I have achieved a tagline of youngest successful entrepreneur with 2 Million yearly turnover. What you have achieved?” Faheem Uddin Syed

Realist quotes about love

21. “Sometimes, the only realists are the dreamers.” Paul Wellstone

22. “Realists do not fear the results of their study.” Fyodor Dostoevsky 

23. “Anyone who doesn’t believe in miracles is not a realist.” David Ben-Gurion 

24. “We’re dreamers, you see, but we’re also realists, of a sort.” William Gibson

25. “A realist, in Venice, would become a romantic by mere faithfulness to what he saw before him.” Arthur Symons 

26. “The leader has to be practical, and a realist, yet must talk the language of the visionary and the idealist.” Eric Hoffer 

27. “I’m more of a realist when it comes to life, and I’d much rather my mother be in a spiritual place in Heaven than in a bed, sick, fighting for her life.” Kevin Hart 

28. “But along the way, of course, you’ve also got to be a realist. You lose a couple of fights here and there, and you think maybe it’s not going to happen.” Michael Bisping 

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29. “In the revolt against idealism, the ambiguities of the word experience have been perceived, with the result that realists have more and more avoided the word.” Bertrand Russell

30. “People who label themselves as ‘realists’ are usually accurate – they see to the real edge of what they know, understand, or believe. At best, these folks tend to be caring worriers.” Brendon Burchard 

Realist quotes from rappers

31. “Went from the illest, to realist.” Raekwon 

32. “I’m the realist brother in it, you already know.” Young Jeezy

33. “Now, who the realist brother alive? Well, you decide.” Black Thought

34. “I grew up and stopped wanting to be the realist rapper ever.” Anonymous

35. “Really, I’ll never forget his last look from his realist’s eyes, sinking.” Black Thought

36. “Y’all can’t change me / Only the realist relate / I was born with this trait.” King Ceaser

37. “I don’t think I’ve ever been just like, happy with life. I live life as a realist.” Too Short

38. “Bouncin’, mystic, realistic  / And simplistic, spirits visit / How we live it, it’s intrinsic.” —Common

39. “Lyrical killer, empirical realist, spiritually guided / To know that in the United States, shit is divided.” Black Thought

40. “For a brief time when Wu-Tang Clan first emerged in the mid-90s, Ghostface Killah spewed urban realist rhymes but obscured his identity behind stocking masks.” Brett Johnson

Realist quotes about relationships and fake friends

41. “Any discussion between idealist and realist would never end.” ― Toba Beta

42. “What I am is something unbearable for the world of journalism and the world of cliches. I’m a realist.” Gore Vidal

43. “I’m a romantic realist. I knew I would become a star, just as I know, someday the bubble will burst.” Telly Savalas

44. “I know I’m not going to be in your head all the time. But once you know me, I’ll be forever in your heart.” Crystal Woods

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45. “I learned you have to move fast, writing futuristic satire in America: Before you know it, you’re a realist!” Jennifer Egan

46. “I know he’s a realist, he’s okay with being alone, and he helps people when he thinks no one is watching.” J.M. Richards

47. “Well, if you can accept that I’m a great big geeky fangirl, then I guess I can accept that you’re a skeptic and a realist.” ― J.M. Richards

48. “People say I’m such a pessimist, but I always was. It never stopped me from doing what I had to do. I would say I’m a realist.” Joan Baez 

49. “The fact is, for all the critics’ talk about me as a realist, I’m making everything up – everything. It is all about imagining with me.” — Richard Bausch 

50. “You can cooperate and not compromise your core values. But I’m a realist with the philosophy that sometimes you’ve got to take bites out of the apple instead of the whole apple.” — Jason T. Smith

What did you learn from these realist quotes?

Motivational author William Arthur Ward made an excellent comparison between the pessimist, the optimist, and the realist noting, “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”

The wisdom of this comparison reminds us that a realist is a flexible person who adjusts to their conditions. 

A pessimistic person voices their disdain for the wind, and the optimist has optimistic hopes for the future.

The realist is the one who acts accordingly. 

Which do you identify with more?

Are you a pessimist, optimist, or realist?

Each has its strengths and shortcomings.

Are we born realists, or does our environment impact that aspect of us? 

Many would argue that hardships and setbacks can dampen our lofty goals.

Being a realist is not an excuse for losing the motivation to pursue our passions. 

Being a realist means understanding there will be roadblocks in life while maintaining our desire to keep going.

What’s your biggest takeaway from these realist quotes and sayings?

Let us know in the comment section below.

Clifton Sankofa has Master's degrees in English, Teaching, and School Leadership. He is a veteran educator and school leader. Clifton has built his career around teaching language arts, social-emotional learning, hip-hop(e), and vegan cooking. Across the country, Black and Brown communities die over preventable diseases. Clifton's aim is to help reverse this trend through cultural shifts. Using hip-hop and cultural-centered activities, he educates young people on how to reclaim their health and heritage through sustainable vegan eating, cooking practices, and literacy skills.
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