We’ve all heard it. “Be positive” they say. “Focus on the good in life” they explain.
“Think, you could be in a much worse situation so you should be thankful for what you have” they command. Well, screw that. I say, forget being positive…being negative has its own virtues.
Honestly, I’m not some weirdo who’s all depressed all the time. Nope, I’m not going to tell you that you should be always pessimistic and pissed off with the world. But I am going to tell you that it is absolutely ridiculous to focus 100% on being positive in your life. Being super incredibly uber-positive is detrimental to your health (much like eating lead paint). You see, optimism is a good thing…but blind positivity will keep you from actually changing your life or making a meaningful impact to this world.
Let me explain
The common thought is that being positive means being right, happy, and good. Why wouldn’t it, right? Positivity = good. Negativity = bad. Isn’t that obvious? Well, the short answer is “no.” There is an annoyingly long answer…but I don’t like long answers…
When you’re 100% focused on being positive, you miss room for growth. You see, every important thing that’s ever been accomplished is because someone was pissed off or frustrated at something. They saw something that was wrong, or evil, or broken, or just annoying, and they found a way to ﬁx it. Every person who’s every quit an awful job, every person who’s left an abusive relationship, and every person who’s ever blocked “Glee” on their Direct TV so their wife wouldn’t make them watch it were driven to do so because they were rightfully being negative. They didn’t discount the negative in the world. They acknowledged it and worked to do something about it.
In many cases that negativity is what will drive you to succeed and change your life. That burning sense of being unsatisfied with your current situation will often be what drives you do achieve.
Negativity isn’t necessarily pessimism
Just because you acknowledge the crappy parts of life doesn’t mean you need to be pessimistic about life. Nope, you should be optimistic, but it shouldn’t be some sort of blind optimism. Don’t tie your optimism to a vague sense of positive thought; instead, tie it to your plans, your goals, and your abilities. Be optimistic about your future because of what you will be doing to shape it. Be optimistic because you know that you’ll be working your ass off to make it better.
Your optimism should be your celebration of overcoming or improving the negative crap that you see around you. Give yourself your reason for optimism.
Great people attach their happiness to taking positive action and achieving real results. The act of moving forward is satisfying and a lack of process is unbearable. Those who are successful only feel like they are truly living if they are moving forward and that’s why they achieve. It is out of that action that they become positive not some magical affirmation, mission statement, or force of will.
To focus 100% on positivity, to try to trick your brain into thinking everything is great, is to prevent yourself from making an impact in your life and in the world. When you turn a blind eye to what’s wrong in the world and what’s wrong in your life, you’ll never be able to do anything to ﬁx it.
So, let yourself be negative every once in a while…but when you do make sure to take real action to make it better.
Please leave all your negative thoughts in the comment section below (but positive thoughts are also more than welcome!)
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