Sourced from The Positive Trait Thesaurus
DEFINITION: seeing the world as it could be; pursuing noble goals, beliefs, or a higher purpose
CATEGORIES: achievement, identity
SIMILAR ATTRIBUTES: noble
Having visionary parents or mentors
The desire to change the world for the better
Wanting to leave a legacy
Having a deep love for people, the world, or a specific belief or cause
Witnessing corruption, danger, or hardship
Having passionate convictions
Having a strong imagination
Asking What if?
Being highly observant
Creative problem solving; innovation
Being highly intuitive
Understanding what needs to be improved and how it can be done
Valuing the happiness of others
Believing in the good of humanity
Having deep values and beliefs
Being honorable and principled
Being curious about the world and the people in it
Tenaciously pursuing one’s goals
Being a deep thinker
Seeing the potential in everything
Encouraging and inspiring others
Having a reflective nature
Bouncing back from disappointments or setbacks
Making independent choices rather than being swayed by others
Boldly holding to one’s beliefs
Positively reinforcing others
Being consistent in one’s pursuits
Having high personal expectations and standards
Finding joy in one’s life and sharing it with others
Being satisfied with one’s path
Avoiding conflict whenever possible
Being a strong mediator or peacemaker
Backing up one’s beliefs with action
Trying to leave things better than one found them
Professing an interest in the meaning of life
Expressing one’s feelings well
Having a job that focuses on helping others (social work, fundraising, etc.)
Being a good listener
Being considerate of others
There has to be a way to help that orphanage. Kids shouldn’t have to live like that.
I want to do something meaningful, not just clock in and out every day.
Something’s bothering Dean. Maybe we can work through it together.
If we all pitch in, we can clean up this lake. Then other communities would follow.
ASSOCIATED EMOTIONS: anticipation, confidence, curiosity, desire, eagerness, happiness, hopefulness
POSITIVE ASPECTS: Idealistic characters are valued for their honesty, their ability to listen, and their genuine, caring natures. They make strong peacemakers and advisors by ignoring the fluff, focusing instead on the heart of a problem and what it will take to make those involved more happy and fulfilled. They are resilient and determined when it comes to their convictions and cannot easily be brought down by disappointment or failure. These characters have big dreams and the courage to chase them, which often leads to change for the better.
NEGATIVE ASPECTS: While they’re able to easily visualize the big picture, idealists sometimes have a hard time ironing out the details. Their inability to see how to make the dream a reality on a practical level can frustrate both them and the people dedicated to helping them succeed.
EXAMPLE FROM FILM: Sam Childers, a former gang member in Machine Gun Preacher, finds God and becomes a champion of orphaned children in the south Sudan. Despite the danger of raids from the Lord’s Resistance Army, Sam builds an orphanage to keep children from being forced into recruitment as child soldiers. As the struggle intensifies, Sam becomes consumed by his mission, sacrificing his business, personal finances, and family relationships to pursue what he believes to be right.
Other Examples from History and Film: Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Jerry Maguire (Jerry Maguire), Dave Kovic (Dave)
TRAITS IN SUPPORTING CHARACTERS THAT MAY CAUSE CONFLICT: argumentative, cynical, fanatical, impatient, pessimistic, suspicious, unhelpful
CHALLENGING SCENARIOS FOR THE IDEALISTIC CHARACTER:
Having a relative who repeatedly discourages the idealistic character “for their own good” Experiencing setbacks that make one doubt or question one’s goal
Feeling the need to pursue a goal that puts oneself or one’s family at risk
Living in a society that is tightly regimented and controlled