Today’s generation of teens and young adults in India is happy and realistic without being too hopeful.

Every day they are exposed to shocking and brutal videos, pictures and articles online. They are aware of the challenges life can throw their way, the competitiveness around virtually everything, and their vulnerabilities as human beings. They know their lives can change in an instant through a natural disaster or terrorism.

When asked their feelings about life currently, only 38% said “extremely optimistic.” On the other hand, over 60% said they’re “somewhere in between.” They’d rather not dream up an ideal world – and they certainly don’t expect a fairy tale ending.

While they’re not at risk for turning cynical, they know the journey of life is difficult and uncertain. They view both blind optimism and blind pessimism as foolish. The only clear road to success involves hard work, smart preparation and perseverance.

Pragmatism is the attitude that they believe will take them closer to success. Planning, thinking ahead, hedging risks – all of these have become paramount.

These insights are part of The Many Me Project, a six-month interactive investigation of 11,000 people ages 13 to 25 across India.