In my last post I began to share a review of an idea that waved the flag for ‘negativity’ in the world.
If you missed it, here’s a link back to Part I. The Power of Negative Thinking – Part I
And now, let’s cough up the rest of the hairball. What could be the value of posing the polarity of Negativity and Positivity? What could be the common threads?
What if Life is not about negativity or positivity per se? What if it’s about LEARNING? What if it is about learning to accept what IS…and learning how to LEARN from everything that happens in life? Instead of getting wrapped up in how crappy things are (or how glorious things are), ask ourselves…”Okay, Self. What am I supposed to learn from this?” ……This ‘belief’ or self reflection however, is also not so popular. Here’s why: It also requires something that folks in our culture RESIST more than learning. And that is.. CHOICE. We have a choice in how we experience life. We have a choice in how we see things, how we let them impact us, or not. We . have. CHOICE.
You may have noticed that many people would rather not be this responsible for themselves and their lives. Heck, I often find MYSELF resisting the choice. Sometimes I would rather suffer and be a victim and pretend that I ‘can’t do anything about it’. This lets me stay neatly in my comfort zone, avoiding the risky move of actually rocking the boat. There are times when I’d rather be comfy than be 100% responsible for my life and my Self. But I also know that if I choose comfort, I give up the right to complain about it.
The point is… if we become LEARNERS (instead of just reactors with positivity or negativity), we also develop something that has become rare in our culture…. RESILIENCE.
I’m learning that much of resilience comes from the combination of a) being responsible for the energy we bring (in Blog Part I), and choosing which path to follow in the face of adversity: Positivity or Negativity. Hope or Despair.
Despair begets despair. It actually shuts down the brain circuitry for creativity, …and I dare say, Love. We build walls that are literally in our brain, and figuratively in our relationships.
Hope, on the other hand, acknowledges adversity with clear eyes. Hope allows us to choose to move forward in the face of adversity. Hope provides us with a choice to LEARN from adversity. And hope, when used well, spurs us into action.
Call me a scientist… or call me a flake. I subscribe to the quantum impacts of who we are BEING in the world. Like the story of the butterfly who flaps its wings in Thailand causing the hurricane on the other side of the world. Who we are BEING (no matter what is happening in our lives) has a ripple effect far beyond what we can see, and far beyond what we may be willing to admit. It only takes the huge and devastating impact of one small tectonic shift on the ocean floor to prove to me that, in fact, this is science.
We are only just now scratching the surface of the science that is showing us this path as human beings. The questions to deeply understand how this works may not be fully answered in our lifetime. So, while I’m on this planet, I choose to live life with a positive bend. I can’t always ‘count’ the happiness/satisfaction/results…. but I can feel it. And I’d be ridiculous to not admit that the business I run, the work I do, and the results I have produced (so far) are proof to me that the approach is working. There was a time in my life where I, admittedly, was one of those “Negative Nellies”. The world was unfair and out to get me. Why were all these crappy things happening ‘to’ me? Blah blah blah. And my level of happiness, my relationships and my ‘success’ (and lack thereof) certainly reflected this energy.
There’s an ancient teaching that says, “The things that can be counted don’t always count. And the things that count can’t always be counted.”
So, call me an optimist…Call me a Positive Thinker. I’ll take it. And I wear the badge with pride.
Because I think the world needs more of it… and if it doesn’t start with me then I give up the right to complain about any Poopy Pants I come across.
I appreciate Oliver’s book for many reasons…. not the least which it provides a platform to question how we are going to take this ride called life. My Spidey senses are wondering if he writes this book so he has validation for his bend, a ‘reason’ for his choice to live life through a negative lens. But that’s not for me to judge. I’m grateful for the opportunity to challenge why I believe what I believe – and in a sense renew my commitments to myself (and the world) of the legacy I wish to leave.