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Be critical

The antithesis of negativity is not positive thinking, but critical thinking.

Skepticism, rather than optimism, is the most powerful way to undermine pessimistic presuppositions.

The perception of doom and gloom does not arise from a lack of faith in the goodness of the Universe, but from an overabundance of confidence in what we think we already know.

Pessimism, in all of its forms, is a claim to knowledge. And like all claims to knowledge, its premises can be questioned and its assumptions challenged.

Don’t give pessimism a free pass

Forget about being positive for today. I’ll compromise with you.

The next time you get ready to form a pessimistic conclusion about anyone or anything, just ask yourself the following 2 questions;

1) How do I know beyond a reasonable doubt that this negative conclusion is true?

2) Am I using the same standard of scrutiny and skepticism that I would use if someone were asking me to draw a positive conclusion about this situation?

Negative until proven positive?

When someone tries to put a positive spin on a situation, we usually become very rational and demand evidence of the highest kind. But when disempowering ideas are advanced, we tend to take those thinking caps right off like a jury that’s been paid under the table. It’s as if someone tricked us into making negativity the default position.

“If you can’t prove with mountains of scientific data that there’s something positive about this situation, I get to adopt the most depressing interpretation possible without having to answer any of the same tough questions about my pessimistic view. Then, on top of that, I get to call myself a “realist” and me and my buddies can make fun of you for being really stupid and naive. Okay?”

What? How did we get there?

A negative assumption is still an assumption

A buddy of mine recently asked me “do you try to make everything positive?” I replied “Not at all! I just refuse to give negativity a free pass. There’s no need to turn a negative situation into a positive one if you don’t assume that it’s negative to begin with.”

If being positive is difficult for you, I get it. If you’re at a place in your life where you don’t know what to think or do, why force yourself to smile if it feels fake? Fortunately, you have more options than being either negative or positive. Instead of assuming that things will turn out horribly, when you really don’t know what’s going to happen for sure, you can simply choose to be open to possibility.

Instead of being negative, be neutral. If you can’t be positive, be open to possibility. You’ll be surprised by how far that takes you.

At least that’s my two cents,

T.K. Coleman

Why I value being creative more than being positive

For many people, “being positive” amounts to trying really hard to be a good sport who laughs a lot and gets along with everyone.

But this image of optimism fails to account for all of the healthy, successful people who don’t seem to be friendly, upbeat, or outwardly cheerful at all.

While I freely embrace conventional terms like “positivity”, “optimism”, and “happiness”, in actual practice I tend to be very broad and flexible with how I apply so-called “principles of positive thinking” to my daily life.

I don’t believe success, happiness, and health are the result of “positive thinking” as much as they are the result of “empowered thinking.” For me, optimism isn’t about fitting any one person’s definition of what it means to be positive. Optimism is about finding whatever approach works for you in the quest to create the kind of life you truly love.

It’s far more important that you develop your own process for creating desired results (whether you desire happiness, wealth, or anything else), than striving to outdo the guy who walks around with a smile on his face 7 days a week.

If having a serious face helps you to focus more, then the smiles can wait for a later time.

If you’ve found a way to successfully channel the feeling of anger along creative lines, may the force be with you.

Forget about the positivity stereotypes. Trying to conform to them is a big pain in the tush.

After all, the value of your life isn’t determined by how positive others think you are, but by what works and feels right for you.

That’s my two cents. What do you think?

T.K. Coleman

If you liked this post, check out:

1. Perkiness & positivity are two different things

2. What to do when being positive feels fake?

3. Must An Optimist Always Be Positive?

If you enjoy my posts, be sure to also check out my weekly celebrity inspiration blog, Gossip Gone Good.

Positive Thinking is not a consolation prize. It’s the gold medal!

In sports, a distinction is made between teams who “play not to lose” and teams who “play to win.”

The former doesn’t expect to win. They may have the desire, but they lack the conviction that they have what it takes to ultimately succeed. Instead, they settle for being competitive. Their primary goal is to put forth a respectable effort while ensuring that the other team works up a good sweat en route to inevitable victory.

Teams who “play to win” have an entirely different mentality. They have their eyes on the prize and are “in it to win it.” Their agenda is neither defensive nor neutral. They want nothing short of being crowned “the winner” at the match’s end.

Optimism is sometimes perceived and advanced from the perspective of those who approach the game of life with a play “not to lose” attitude. Positive thinking is often seen as a consolation prize for an unpleasant life. From this vantage point, life really does stink and the best we can hope to do is be a good sport about it. Positive thinking is simply a coping mechanism that allows us to get through the day after our circumstance have already been defined by a pessimistic perspective.

Here’s another way to see it;

Optimism is about playing to win.

Optimism isn’t just there to help you cope with negativity. It’s there to relentlessly challenge negativity. It doesn’t concede any negative interpretations of reality without first contesting it from all sides. Every negative assumption is called into question with the highest scrutiny. Optimism wants to be the perspective that gets to define what your life is like. It’s not going to sit back and let pessimism define what your life means while it passively reacts.

Positivity is not a defensive reaction to life’s challenges.

Positivity is a proactive mechanism for creating the life you were born to create.

There are no consolation prizes in life. You can either be a victim of circumstance or a champion of imagination.

You get to choose. Don’t play not to lose.  Today you can decide to play on the winning side.

That’s my two cents.


T.K. Coleman

You don’t have to be preachy to be positive?

When we discover a new or empowering insight, it’s usually our first instinct to share it with everyone we know. I’ve eased up on that approach. The purpose of an idea, in my evolving opinion, isn’t to convert others into it. The purpose is allow that idea to be fully absorbed and assimilated into my own consciousness. Personal development isn’t about global proselytization. It’s about personal transformation. Paradoxically, however, there is nothing that contributes more powerfully to global transformation than the transformation of the individual.

If you’re interested in being an optimist, then be an optimist for you and for the sake of its own value. That’s enough. You don’t have to convert your family and friends to positive thinking. If other people don’t want it, there’s nothing you can do to override their free will and make them want it. People will gravitate towards whatever it is they need in their own time.

Besides, attempting to change people’s minds about anything via argumentation is one of the fastest ways to work yourself up into a state of annoyance and agitation that is sure to work against the happy lifestyle you’re trying to create.

If somebody is a pessimist, I can assure you they didn’t get there overnight. Their pessimistic outlook on life, whether they are conscious of it or not, has been cultivated over time. The average pessimist is capable of demolishing any argument you offer for the bright side in a matter of minutes. No matter how many Henry Ford quotes you give them, they can decide that it doesn’t apply. No matter how many success stories you tell them, they can decide it doesn’t apply.

A pessimist can only transform himself by deciding, for himself, that his problems are not too special to be solved. He must decide to buy into the idea that happiness and success can be modeled. And he must do this in his own time. Perhaps you can contribute to his process of change, but only by maintaining a positive vibration in your own life. You can’t do that from a place of resisting and resenting their negativity.

So, be there for the people who need you and keep representing the positivity that you stand for. But, if someone disagrees with you, don’t consider it the end of the world. You don’t need anyone else to buy into your ideas in order to continue practicing what you’ve decided is best for you.

You don’t have to be preachy to be positive.

At least that’s my two cents.


T.K. Coleman

If you liked this post, check out:

1. Dealing with negative people

2. Peer Pressure Pessimism

3. Transcending the dimension of disagreement

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