Making the Switch

A part of the Overcoming Negativity series.

I’ve held two opposing perspectives of the world — one was a negative interpretation and the other was positive. In the first, I believed that I was an insignificant creature struggling for survival amidst a cruel yet random world. In the second, I perceived myself as an invited guest to the greatest party ever thrown. As someone that’s tried both perspectives, I can confidently tell you that a positive interpretation of the world is by far the most satisfying option. Whereas if you crave high-intensity, go with a negative outlook in which literally everything is out to get you.

Now, if you find yourself not enjoying life because it feels like the intensity is too high, then it’s likely that you mistakenly developed a negative outlook. The good news is that it’s not too late to change. I had this problem, and although it took me a few years, I finally switched to a positive outlook and life is a lot easier now. Whew! What was I thinking!? Why did I believe I could handle that kind of intensity!? I don’t know, but I’m glad it’s over.

If you’re ready to make the switch, then perhaps I can help. First, you’re gonna need to prove you’re serious about overcoming negativity. Let’s begin by you writing down your fundamental interpretation of the world. In other words, what IS this world, what’s your place within it, and what do you expect from it? And to demonstrate that you truly considered your answer, the description must be under 200 words (in your own words). Here’s an example:

The world is a giant rock hurtling around a massive fireball upon which I was randomly born via natural selection. Daily life is about struggling to survive within a harsh environment that cares for no one. I guess I’m one of the so-called lucky ones that gets to exist for at least a brief period of time. I have no idea what I’m supposed to do here, but I’m certain that my vigilance keeps me alive. From this world, I expect stress and pain and an ongoing dissatisfaction that continually crushes my spirit. Once in a while something good happens, but even a broken analog-clock is right twice per day.
(This is slightly over 100 words)

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Negativity Nightmare

A part of the Overcoming Negativity series.

The trouble with overcoming negativity, is that it looks like there’s no way out. When you’re negative and sporting a bad attitude, any advice will seem stupid. And anyone doing well in life will seem like a moron deluding himself into being superficially happy, whereas you live in the “real world” and know the gritty truth about life. So it’ll usually take quite a shock to wake you from the nightmare you’re in.

Why am I bothering with this somewhat mild message then? Certainly it’s not enough to shake you awake. But here’s the thing, maybe you really are as smart as you say you are. Maybe you can get the message before life turns up the intensity. Because at some point, life will come for you — but this gentle notification is here if you want to avoid all that fuss.

It’s like Scrooge in A Christmas Carol — he had a simple “dream” one night, then his whole world turned around. Here is your dream. Take heed and you’re off the hook, you’ll have an easy time living a life that far exceeds your pessimistic imaginings. Ignore it, and you step in line at the roller-coaster, ready to have your snot shaken loose as your heart-rate races you to the finish.

Right now, life is getting ready to show you that nightmare you’ve been imagining your entire life. You asked for it, you expected it to come — so you’ll receive it. But if you give up your negative ways, the good life awaits — right here and right now. It’s always been there, you just couldn’t appreciate it. So what’s it going to be?

Expected Expectations

“When an expectation doesn’t come true, doesn’t that prove that my expectations don’t actually control anything?” No, it proves that you didn’t really expect to get what you wanted. You need to double-down and expect an even better outcome from that point forward. Yes that sounds like some funky logic, but it turns out that logic is for losers — people that excel at this game don’t waste their time with logic.

But here’s the thing, the deeper you get into the practice of positive expectations, the less-specific things you expect. Who cares really? Losers care about minutia whereas winners have a great day no matter what. All you ever need to expect is an entertaining time here on Earth. The specifics aren’t important. What’s the difference whether it’s sunny or raining, whether you’re alone or with others, whether you’re laughing or crying — the enjoyment of the experience is the important part.

The bottom line is this folks: do you want to sit around rotting away, decaying everyday until you finally give-up and die? Of course not, that’s stupid. You play a game to have fun. And right now you’re in one of the best games ever created: Earth. And like any game, the only point is to engage and enjoy. And the way to enjoy ANY game is to approach it with a positive attitude and an expectation of having a great time.

If you’re failing at life, it’s because you didn’t follow this simple step. And that’s not even a problem — anytime you want, you can start turning things around. Life isn’t a particularly hard game unless you expect it to be. And if I sound harsh, it’s because you’ve ignored every sweetly-worded explanation that’s come your way thus far, you regularly dismiss that stuff as nonsense. Now you’re stuck with me, speaking on your terms, at your level. Now smarten up and have a great time!

Overlooking Logic

A part of the Overcoming Negativity series.

Don’t listen to logic, listen to life. For the longest time, that sentiment made no sense to me.

You enter into life and your thinking-mind (the part that chatters all day long) tries to brute-force its way through. Unfortunately, this babbling big-mouth doesn’t know anything, and subsequently fails at every step. Your thinking-mind then determines that “life sucks” and it’s too hard — then it proceeds to bad-mouth life from here on out. Sound familiar?

“Logic” is a trick that your thinking-mind uses to convince itself that it’s right about everything. Logic relies on a foundation of facts yet your thinking-mind doesn’t bother with actual facts, it simply cobbles together a framework of plausible beliefs based on incomplete data and hearsay evidence. It will then bend and twist every situation to fit into its system of “logic”.

So basically, “logic” is a lie your thinking-mind uses to feel justified in its failure. But if “logic” is a sure route to loser-ville, what’s left? Well it turns out that life doesn’t need to be figured out. If you simply listen to life, it’ll tell you exactly what to do and where to go. If you can just get that blathering part of your mind to shut-up for once, you can receive all the instruction you’ll ever need.

Members of the Serious Thinkers Club don’t naturally integrate into life because our thinking-mind is so prominent. Therefore, we have to manually shut it down. But don’t worry, that yapping jabber-box is not who you really are, it’s actually preventing you from being who you really are. Nothing of value is lost in the process — you’re simply removing a thorn from your side.

If you’ve noticed, we all have a bunch of attributes that define our character — but an always-complaining scaredy-cat is not a legitimate attribute — it’s a side-effect that occurs when the thinking-mind is at the helm. It creates a selfish, self-centered creature that perceives nothing but the worst in its surroundings. Silence it, and a whole new wonderful world opens up before you.

Bullied Life

A part of the Overcoming Negativity series.

As a serious thinker, your toughest challenge deals with your ability to appreciate the life you live. Your negativity will cause the world to appear as if it’s a sadistic nightmare-realm hellbent on your destruction. Even though objectively, the life you’ve lived thus far has been relatively easy in terms of the effort exerted to maintain your physical existence.

You were right about it being “me versus the world” — but unfortunately, you’re the bully that’s been repeatedly attacking life. When you experienced existence for the first time, you freaked out and mistook the initial feelings of excitement for pain and reacted in the worst way possible. You overreacted and now you need to apologize and atone for your unwarranted attack on life.

You’ve no doubt disparaged life a hundred times over throughout the course of your existence. Existence is a gift that you straight-up power-slammed into the ground. But here’s the thing: Life loves you. Despite your bad attitude, you’re still here right? And when you finally calm down and attempt to overcome your toughest challenge, life is here for you once again.

When you start looking for good in the world, you’ll find it — it’s everywhere. It’s always been there, your pessimism just didn’t allow you to perceive it. And the way you make amends with life is easy: start by enjoying the gift you were given. Don’t criticize it, don’t avoid it, don’t look for the worst in it — just find something to appreciate in every moment as the scenes of life flicker by.

Negativity Scene

A part of the Overcoming Negativity series.

Let’s review so far. Here are some highlights for overcoming negativity:

1. Accept and appreciate that you’re smack dab in the middle of a story. Notice the narratives and watch them unfolding before you — they’re everywhere.

2. Abandon any notion of a harsh and brutal reality in which you’re a fragile creature struggling for survival, subject to the whims of a random world, alive today thanks to your luck and cunning. Now THAT’S one hell of a fairytale to tell yourself! Anyone would be scared sh*tless by that kind of reality. Well good thing it couldn’t be further from the truth.

3. What is true, is the underlying benevolence of the world. Your current existence is a testament to the fact that survival is not a thing — life has been coddling you this entire time.

4. Yes, you most certainly can sabotage your story. Understand this and don’t do it. Your story is influenced by you expectations. Expect the worst, receive the worst. Expect the best, receive the best.

5. Therefore, in every situation, make an effort to expect the best. Don’t default to negative expectations: that’s dumb and that’s why you’re not enjoying your time right now.

6. Problems add to the enjoyment of life, they’re the obstacles that challenge us. If you don’t like your current crop of problems, stop focusing on them and new ones will replace them. The more positive your attitude, the more positive your problems will be. Whereas if you’ve got a bad attitude, your problems will be equally as bad.

7. Abandon your first impression of existence. You were just starting out and unfortunately interpreted the intensity of your initial experience as scary. Your snap-judgement led you to see a nightmarish world of gloom & doom — but the good news is: you were wrong. Abandon your stubbornness in maintaining an outmoded idea. Start fresh and appreciate the world and the gift of existence.

And just to be clear, this is not a belief-based system. If you simply sit still and observe the circumstances going on around you, you’ll readily see all the character-filled stories with all their intricate plots. You should also realize that a seemingly bad situation doesn’t cause a bad experience — a bad attitude causes a bad experience. Now that all this has been pointed out to you, the obviousness of actual-reality should be easier to perceive. And if you have any further questions, that’s what I’m here for.

Obstacles of Course

A part of the Overcoming Negativity series.

In the classic video-game, if Donkey Kong rolls a barrel down at you, do you stare at it, examine it, find displeasure in its appearance, perhaps hate it, curse its existence, wonder why such a thing would be thrown at you? No, you jump over it. Then the next one, and the next, and then the next barrel — until you reach the top. If you stop to ponder, you get crushed.

All the unpleasant, unappealing things you see in life are mere obstacles meant to be overcome and forgotten about. You’re not supposed to take time to examine a hurdle, you’re supposed to leap and move on. So by stopping to ponder, you’re impeding your progress along the path. You’re taking these obstacles too personally, despising them, when you should be appreciating them instead.

If Donkey Kong didn’t throw barrels, you’d simply climb up to the top and win every time. How long do you think you’d play such a game? How fulfilling would victory feel? It is the obstacles you overcome that give meaning to the game. Obstacles form the foundation of every game — and you’ll notice in any story, the central-character must always overcome something.

Your problem therefore, is not “problems”. Your problem is your negativity towards problems. You should want problems. Without problems, you’d walk straight to the top, securing a hollow victory of no significance. Why do we exist in this particular world? To overcome obstacles — that’s the enjoyment we seek as embodied beings within our avatars of flesh.

And your primary obstacle right now is negativity. Once defeated, a whole world of entertaining obstacles opens up for you. But to unlock them, you need the ability to appreciate the lighthearted-nature of the game. If you’re sitting there deathly afraid, then every merry adventure will seem frivolous and not worth the risk. To get to the good stuff, the pessimistic attitude towards problems must end.