Publisher - September 2020
“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.” —Zig Ziglar
Why wouldn’t someone want to look on the bright side, think positive and hope for the best? Research has proven time and again that those who think positive thoughts achieve better health, greater prosperity and more happiness than those who dwell in the negative. However, there are many people who still approach life with a grim outlook—always expecting the worst and even downplaying good fortune. In fact, some people can’t see the silver lining in anything, especially in 2020.
How sad it must be to go through every day grumpy. I say grumpy because I think negative people are grumpy. I started a conversation with a lady at a luncheon, and within 17 seconds, I regretted it. She was a total downer—an energy drain. I tuned her out because her negativity drowned out her credibility. Although I felt for her, I couldn’t tolerate the physical effect her negativity had on me. I should have noticed her name tag before I spoke to her—Eeyore.
Seriously, Eeyore, from the Winnie the Pooh series, is probably the most famous pessimist. Wikipedia describes him as a pessimistic, gloomy, depressed, anhedonic, old, grey stuffed donkey. If that’s not a metaphor for life, I don’t know what is. If I were looked upon in the same dim, morose light as Eeyore, I would make a conscious decision to quit being a pessimist—not for others, but for myself. Because, if I were all those things, I would live a shriveled life.
There is a Peanuts comic where Charlie Brown is talking to Snoopy. Charlie says: “We only live once, Snoopy.” Snoopy replies: “Wrong! We only die once. We live every day!”
This is powerful because it reminds us we all have a choice of how we choose to BE every single day. Negative people cast a choking energy like a dark cloud over people, occasions, events, organizations and themselves. There is power in negativity, albeit the type you don’t want. Pessimists force their gloom and doom everywhere they go. They turn joy into worry, hope into fear, discussions into arguments and laughter into silence. The result is people walking on eggshells. However, no matter how lightly one treads, the pessimist is still bound to crack.
What these lonely shadow dwellers forfeit for the ability to rain on everyone’s parade are deep friendships, true connections and their own happiness. They also damage themselves both physically and emotionally. They end up lonely and sad. That’s a very high price to pay for something that provides no luxury.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are health benefits in being a positive thinker. The benefits that positive thinking may provide include:
• Increased life span
• Better psychological and physical well-being
• Lower levels of distress
• Greater resistance to the common cold, and maybe…
• Lower rates of depression
• Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
• Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
Obviously, being positive doesn’t mean being oblivious to bad things or believing everything is perfect. It simply means shifting focus from seeing imperfections to finding good, from dwelling on what could go wrong to what could go right and from fearing failure to embracing chance. It’s much more frightening to be an optimist, but so worth the ride.
Instead of pondering the classic optimist-versus-pessimist question—“Is the glass half-empty or half-full,”—I want you to ponder this question: How good are you willing to let it get? Your answer will quickly reveal your degree of optimism or pessimism. If you’re tipping the meter toward pessimism, do yourself a favor and start working to change that.
I understand it’s risky to allow things to be good. Many believe the more positive you think, the farther you have to fall. If you stay in the negative and never expect anything to work out, then you’ll never be disappointed. Right?
Wrong. You will go though your entire life with minimum joy, and that is the biggest disappointment of all—a squandered life. Do you know it’s OK to be happy? It’s OK to hope and dream and dare. Even in these times! It’s OK if the rug is pulled out from under you and you fail miserably. One miserable failure is far better than one miserable life.
Why waste another minute dwelling deep within dismay? You deserve better. Even if you don’t see it, here is your first positive thought: You’ve been through many rough days—some days when you couldn’t stop crying, some when you felt as though your heart would break in half, some when you wondered if the sun would ever shine again. Now, remind yourself that so far your track record of getting through those bad days is 100 percent. I say that’s excellent...and positive!
It’s time to lighten up in spite of it all, dethrone negativity and reclaim your sparkling crown. In doing so, you will lighten your load and release the heavy burden of negative thoughts. You are the ruler of your happiness and don’t ever forget it.