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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

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