There is a lot of talk about positive thinking, which is often just talk. How can one be positive when “bad things happen”? I heard a story about a boy who came to his father and told him that he thinks that he had flunked his test in school. “Son, you have to be positive,” father told him. “OK, I am positive. I flunked the test.” I decided to write this story after reading an article in The Wall Street Journal from December 28-29, 2019, which was titled “For the New Year, Say No to Negativity”. It was an adaptation from the new book, “The Power of Bad: How the Negative Effect Rules Us and How We Can Rule It”, Written by John Tierpey and Roy F. Baumeister.
In the article, their recommendation is that “we could use a fresh approach. For 2020, here’s a resolution that could actually work: Go on low-bad diet.” Especially since “we know there will be endless bad news and vitriol, especially this election year.”
The article points out “that it is just now becoming clear to scientists: the negative effect. Also known as negative bias, it’s the universal tendency for bad events and emotions to affect us more strongly than positive ones”. In the article the authors mention the Rule of Four – It takes four good things to overcome one bad thing. One of the examples is given. “If you want to keep your business afloat, aim for at least four satisfied customers for every unsatisfied one.” Of course you can try to minimize bad experiences or feelings by just avoiding a negative environment, which will affect your brain and your behavior. For starters, stop listening to, or reading all of the negative stuff promoted by politicians and journalists. They are paid big bucks to tap “into our primal emotions by helping threats from nature, technology, foreigners, political opponents – whatever will instantly trigger the brain alarm circuits.”
In my view, positive thinking can only entail expecting a good outcome, regardless of the circumstances. One of my favorite sayings is, “Seek for seeds of victory in every defeat.”
When people habitually ask me, “How are you?” I habitually answer, “Always good”. Some hearing this respond by telling me that I cannot always be good. But I am, because I strive to be good. It is not because I think positively; but rather, this kind of thinking comes from making an effort to be good. And I do not need scientific research to prove that this is the way to enjoy every day of my life.
Last week I wrote that the year 2020 offers infinitive possibilities. It means that all of us have a choice. Choose to be positive. You can read the above mentioned book if you need help with this endeavor, or call me.
P.S. Two weeks ago I shared with you four images from my 2020 calendar. Here are four more. You can see all of them on mannykagan.smugmug.com. I printed 200 calendars and all of them are gone, primarily to my recent clients. Next year I will have another beautiful calendar. It is going to be easy to get – you have the whole year to become one of those clients who needs a mortgage solution, or refer me to someone who does.
Smile, be positive and share your positivity with your friend.