Are You More Pragmatic or Idealistic?

By: Raj Chander

Are You More Pragmatic or Idealistic?
Image: Morsa Images/DigitalVision/Getty Images

About This Quiz

The famous philosopher Epictetus once said: "It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters."

In other words, much of the way we experience life is determined by our attitude. And when it comes to attitude, there are generally two different kinds of people.

The pragmatist is the type of person who puts on rain boots when there's a 30% chance of precipitation. Sure, it's nice to expect the best, they reason, but it makes more sense to prepare for the worst. They aren't necessarily negative people, they just believe that it's always better to be pleasantly surprised at things going well than to be caught off guard when things go poorly.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is the idealist. These are the people who helped coin the phrase, "rose-colored glasses." They expect people and events in their life to function in an ideal manner at all times. As they believe it, their next plan, idea, or attempt will go off smoothly and without a hitch. These are the people who can find the silver lining on even the darkest, ugliest storm cloud.

Most people fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum of life perspective. Are you wondering whether you are more of a realist or a dreamer? Give us your honest responses to the scenarios below and we'll tell you.

We all have to work for a living. How close is your current job to your dream job?
It works to pay the bills, but not much more.
It's fine for now, but I definitely want something better.
It may not be ideal, but it has some benefits and it's an important step on my way to my dream career.
I absolutely love what I do, and I'm lucky to do it!

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Our physical spaces are a reflection of us. How clean do you keep your bedroom?
It's usually pretty tidy.
I'm a neat freak, it's always immaculate!
I do my best, but there's usually a controlled mess somewhere.
I try to make time to clean, but I'm fine with however it looks.

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You wake up and peek out the window to see a cloudy, overcast sky. What do you expect for the rest of the day?
I'd better get ready for rain – it'll probably get worse.
I'm hoping for it to clear and get sunny.
I'm fully expecting it to get warmer and nicer later.
It'd be nice to get some sun, but I'll bring my jacket just in case.

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You are planning a camping trip with some friends. What are you packing?
Just what I need and not much more.
I'm a minimalist on trips – I only pack a couple of core essentials.
Everything I possibly can! You never know what's going to happen.
A little more than I will probably need, just to be safe.

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Meeting new people is a big part of life. How often do you strike up conversations with strangers?
Frequently, unless I'm feeling down.
As often as I can! I love new experiences.
Only when my setting and mood are right.
Once in a while.

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Your boss calls you into his office and assigns you a difficult project. What's your reaction?
I'm stressed because it's probably not going to be easy for me to do a good job.
I'm trying to stay positive but worrying about the outcome.
I definitely feel the pressure and uncertainty, but I'm focusing on the positives.
I'm excited – this is a great opportunity to prove myself.

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Do you tend to make decisions based more on how you feel, or how you think?
Almost always how I feel.
I try to use an even mix of both.
I tend to lean more towards how I'm thinking than how I'm feeling.
I strive to make decisions solely on logical thought.

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Only certain kinds of people participate in philanthropy. How often do you donate to charity?
Frequently
Once a year or less.
As much as I possibly can.
A few times per year.

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What's your attitude about playing the lottery?
I don't get why so many people waste money on it.
I see the appeal, but I usually don't buy a ticket.
It's cool to be hopeful, as long as you don't let it cloud your judgment.
It's fun and I do it often!

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From time to time we all interact with folks we haven't met. How much do you like meeting new people?
I enjoy it whenever it happens.
I try to only do it on certain occasions.
It's good when it happens, but I don't go out of my way for it.
I go out of my way to broaden my horizons with new people!

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Entrepreneurship is an important part of society. Would you ever think about starting a business?
It's something I want to do.
Maybe, if all the circumstances were right.
I'm not sure I'm cut out for it.
Yes, I already have or I know I will one day.

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Everyone has things they enjoy doing. What's your favorite recreational activity?
Cleaning or organizing.
Reading a good book.
Spending time with others.
Dreaming about the future.

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Some people are scared of tempting fate. How superstitious are you?
I have a few lucky rituals, but that's about it.
I try to work hard and also bring luck to my side.
I rarely think about superstition.
I'm wearing my lucky underwear right now!

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You're at a coffee shop and have to use the bathroom. What do you do with your stuff?
I leave it but ask someone to watch it.
I just leave it there – nothing will happen to it.
I move it to the floor where it's harder for potential thieves to see.
I pack everything up and take it to the bathroom with me.

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They say children are our future. What's your attitude about kids?
They should be seen and loved but not heard.
They can be great, but are sometimes very disruptive.
I enjoy being around them as long as I get breaks.
I love kids!

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The first part of our day says a lot about us. How early do you wake up?
I try to get up as early as possible, but sometimes sleep in.
I sleep in to get extra energy for my day.
I sleep in as long as I can.
I'm out of bed and moving around by 6AM or before.

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Exercise is an important part of a healthy life. How physically active are you?
I work out when I can fit it in, but it's not super important to me.
I work out a few times a week.
I work out at least 4 times every week.
I'm a huge gym rat and work out almost every day.

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What do you think of the smash-hit television show "Shark Tank"?
It's usually pretty enjoyable and touching.
It's awesome to see people fulfilling their dreams and getting exposure for their hard work!
It's cool, but some of the ideas are nuts!
It's funny to watch what people think is a good business idea.

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Speaking of business and money – do you invest in the stock market?
Yes, but only in safe mutual and index funds.
I contribute to my IRA and pick one or two company stocks that I like.
If I am attracted to a company, I put some money into them.
Here and there, when I get the inkling to.

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If you could go anywhere in the world on a trip, where would it be?
Bali
Mexico
A nice place in the country I live.
Australia

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You're walking down the street and come across some loose change on the ground. What do you do?
I just walk by, it's probably not enough to be worth stopping for and it might be dirty.
I might check and see what it is, but I'm probably not picking it up.
I'll stop to look at it and take it if it's more than a nickel.
I'll pick it up – even if it's just a penny, it might be lucky.

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You've just sat down at dinner on a first date. What's your approach to the conversation?
I'd like to learn about them while also putting my best foot forward.
I want to get to know everything about them!
I'm focused more on myself and asking questions that make me look good.
I just don't want to come off like an idiot.

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You're at work and someone tells you something bad about another coworker. What do you do in response?
Nod, listen politely, then ignore it. I'm not big into gossip.
I listen and think about how I can use it to gain standing at work.
Listen carefully and if it's something really juicy, I might tell a friend.
I pay attention and note it for the future, but that's all.

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How punctual are you?
I'm almost always on time.
I'm on time more often than not.
I'm about 50-50 between being late and on time.
I'm usually late, but I have a good reason!

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Keeping our lives together is important. How do you stay organized?
I just hope I can remember what I need to do.
I keep a very loose to-do list, most of the time.
I have a calendar system and a to-do list.
I use multiple apps to schedule my time in 15-minute increments, every single day.

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It's been a long day at the office. How are you unwinding?
Cooking my favorite meal and organizing the kitchen.
Relaxing on the couch and listening to some music.
Calling up a friend to remind me of all the great relationships I have.
Watching my favorite movie and planning for a better day tomorrow.

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Compromise is the foundation of most successful relationships. How do you approach compromise?
I try to moderate my expectations so that it's easier to compromise.
I'm not the best at compromising if it's something I am really passionate about.
I know I have to do it so I do, but I always try to keep my goals in mind.
I'm usually open to compromising, but not always.

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What is your current relationship status?
Married
Single, but I date around
In a serious relationship
Single, but I'm waiting for the one for me.

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How many siblings do you have?
Three or more
Two to three
Just one
None

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You're getting ready for a formal event. What kind of outfit do you wear?
Something nice but traditional that lets me blend in.
A very traditional outfit with one extra bit of flair, like a colorful pocket square or bow.
Something classic with a bit of a twist.
Something loud and flashy that will give a good impression.

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