Look to the left, look to the right, positive thinking seems to be the rage these days. You can dig up tons of writing online, which instructs you to think positive and positive will happen. We use it as an excuse to keep living our life the way we want to. We use positive thinking to run away from our problems. We use positive thinking to be optimistic in life when nothing seems to go our way. We are told to ‘be optimistic’ and ‘look at the brighter side,’ but positive thinking is not what helps you thrive or survive. You might not have realized it, but your negative thinking is what has led you to grow as a person.
What Happens When You Embrace The Power of Negative Thinking?
I bet you’ve learned public speaking because you were afraid of the lack of presentation skills causing you to get fired from your job.
You read about investing money because you were afraid you would lose all of it.
You started your company because you were losing sleep over the fact that someone else might have the same idea.
We all strive to be better, to grow, and to improve day by day because we are all, at some level, afraid of being left behind. Nothing ever happens to us if we are sitting and thinking positive all day.
The Real Dangers of Positive Thinking
Positive thinking can be incredibly deceiving. It makes you believe you are on a roll when really, you are struggling to stay afloat. It makes you ignore everything that is changing around you because you think it will not happen to you. You continue down the path of self-destruction because quitting is not a good thing.
Kodak and Nokia are two of the most significant examples of this. So is Blockbuster. They all paid the same price.
Positive thinking makes you complacent. You repress your fears even though facts tell you otherwise. You start believing you are the sh*t also though you can be replaced in a matter of minutes.
You stop practicing your craft or learning a new skill because you think you have “made it” in life. You suppress negative thinking because they will attract bad things.
Positive thinking also prevents us from taking action. We are too busy dreaming about what we will do with all the money we make once we are prosperous; we never have the time to do the work.
We are proud of our zen-like abilities to stay calm under all the change, not realizing when that same change sweeps the rug under our feet.
Cynics Are The Ones Who Change The World
“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” -Carl Jung-
A pessimist is someone who believes that human conduct is motivated purely by self-interest. At our very core, we are all selfish. We go after things that make us feel good, and in the process, some of us end up changing the world. Every scientist, poet, or entrepreneur you come across, is a cynic.
Reed Hastings started Netflix after he incurred over $40 in late fees from blockbuster.
Richard Branson started Virgin Airlines because his flight to the British Virgin Islands was canceled.
In the process, what they created, ended up being much more significant than them.
But it all started out of pure self-interest… just like a lot of other inventions.
Most of the disruptions start from our own frustration with the process or the product. Nobody ever improved something when they were happy with it.
Negative Thinking is a Good Idea
“For the most part, we’re so used to our negative thinking that we aren’t even aware when we’re doing it. Consequently, we need to listen closely to the content of our thoughts, and we need to hear our words as we speak them” –– Walter E. Jacobson, M.D.
I only ever improved in my life because of all the self-doubt I had. It was my inner critic that can take full credit for my growth as an individual.
Negative thinking over the years has helped me avoid failure!
I was afraid that I won’t be able to do my job if I was terrible at public speaking, which led me to seek out opportunities to improve actively.
I feared the lack of money controlling my life, just like it did for my parents, hence I learned about investing.
I started exercising and learning about living a healthy life because I was convinced I would be diagnosed with diabetes if I didn’t do so.
Negative Thinking Helps You Survive
The only reason you take preventative measures is that you are afraid. It is the negative thinking inside your head which cautions you every time you are heading into new territories. It pushes you to make contingency plans in case of a disaster.
Negative thoughts spur you into taking action! It pushes you to seek better for yourself. It forces you to become better by pursuing opportunities that help you dispel any doubts!
The best in the world at anything is paranoid, which is why they always keep improving. You will hardly find them sitting at the top and taking things for granted.
It is Time You Embrace Your Dark Side
In Avengers’ end game, Bruce Banner, after years of fighting the Hulk and resisting him, finally manages to put the brains and the muscle together. Mark Ruffalo, who plays Bruce, had this to say about it:
“It is what it is, so how do I live next to this in a way that I can still have a life? Maybe this monster is equally a part of me, and I can never really get rid of it.”
When you embrace your dark side, you can better manage it. It allows you to work around it. I was on a great run, writing 500 words daily for a while, but it didn’t take me long to slip on this promise. Like thousands of other promises, I broke this one as well.
The difference this time was that I had embraced it, and because I had done that, I was able to recognize it as a phase, and I could overcome it! I realized I had to give myself time to recover, and unlike the thousand other times, this time, it didn’t take me long to get back on track.
As you dig deeper and make the darkness conscious, you will find delightful ways to make it work for you, just like the Bruce Banner did.
And if you have seen Avengers — Spoiler Alert — you know we needed that Hulk!