Making the Switch – Part 2

A part of the Overcoming Negativity series.

First, make sure you’ve completed the task from the previous post: Making the Switch.

Now, I want you to counter your own description. Poke holes in it, make it feel untrue to you. If you need any assistance, I’m here to help. Here was my example, which I will then counter-attack:

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.

And to counter it:

It’s possible that the world I know exists solely as a computer-simulation. Perhaps nothing is physical. Or maybe it’s simply the dream of an ethereal being. And the neat thing is, whatever contains this world might be far beyond my comprehension. Just like the game Minecraft is only a minimalist re-creation of our current world, the world I’m within right now might be a minimalist representation of some greater world. Maybe this life is simply a game I chose to play, just a thing I did for fun.

And if I think about it, I really haven’t struggled all that much. I’m several decades old and the primary obstacle in my life has been my own bad attitude. I felt so certain that life was out to get me, but if the world was truly as wild and wicked as I’ve imagined, I’d be dead by now. It seems like my own thoughts have been the source of the stress and pain and dissatisfaction I’ve been experiencing. Maybe a better attitude is the only thing I’ve been missing.

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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)

Negativity Quiz 01

Okay, let’s see how well have you’ve been paying attention. To demonstrate mastery of the material, answers should be no longer than a single sentence or phrase.

Quiz on Overcoming Negativity:

1. What is the fundamental nature of reality?

2. What is your position within the universe?

3. How do things get done / why do things happen?

4. What is the primary cause of unhappiness?

5. What is the happiest state of mind?

6. What role should logic play in life?

7. True or False: I’m a fragile creature struggling for survival amidst a cruel and careless world.

8. True or False: Death can come at anytime.

9. True or False: Random-chance is an uncontrollable force that fouls-up life.

10. What is your primary function here?

————————
Answers:

1. Reality is dreamlike.
2. I am the dreamer.
3. Things get done via narratives and expectations.
4. Unhappiness is the result of the thinking-mind’s incessant chatter and desire to criticize.
5. A quiet mind is a happy mind.
6. None, logic is a pathway to loser-ville.
7. False, life is a benevolent experience.
8. False, we die whenever we feel our story’s over.
9. False, it’s a playful-lie used by the thinking-mind to make the mundane seem more exciting.
10. I exist in order to extract enjoyment from existence.

Doorway Sales

I tried for DECADES to make that natural-model-of-the-universe stuff fly. I was a dedicated advocate and active proselytizer. But in the end, I just couldn’t do it. Eventually, beaten and broken, I had to say fuck-it and move on. Yet being the natural-born zealot I am, I can’t not advocate for something. So nowadays I promote the enjoyment of existence — I’m a salesman for the good-life. My father was a salesman by the way, he sold doors.

But me, I sell virtual doors, gateways to the wondrous world you never knew existed. A magical realm fueled by dreams and wishes. Rich Reality Services — that’s the name of my business (“reality”, not “realty” like you’d expect. Ha! Get it!?). It’s a service for those that want to trade-in their distressing perspective for something better. And boy do I have something better for you! You’re gonna think I’m offering some pie-in-the-sky nonsensical notion — but no, this is the real deal.

Imagine the life you’re living now, but without fear and with plenty of fulfillment. No more worry, just you living life as you were meant to, enjoying yourself the entire time. What a concept! Regularly smiling, appreciating your surroundings, maintaining a sense of satisfaction, having fun — these things could be yours. And that reality exists right now if you’re willing to accept it. I’m simply here if you need a little nudge in the right direction.

And like many instructors, I’m merely a couple pages ahead in the lesson-book — I’m finding my way on the path same as you. But think of me as the scout that intrepidly treks ahead. I’m first to fall off the cliff, yet first to see the rising sun. Either way, you get a heads-up about what’s coming, with time to react based on the insight provided. My character just happens to be good at not falling off cliffs, which is why I’ve taken the point position.

So if that sounds about right to you, stick around and read along — or hit me up with any questions or comments. My name’s Rich if you didn’t catch it earlier, and I’m at your service.

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.