This last year or so has taught us a few apparent lessons, one, stop fucking around with nature; two, confirmation bias in people is strong, and three, strange and random things happen to good and bad people all the time, and contrary to popular belief, for the most part, it’s for no reason at all. Some may regard staying positive throughout the pandemic or any adverse life event as an effective means of navigating our way out of your uncomfortable scenario. And while a narrow beam of positive, precise, and focused attention to get you through some situations unscathed can be helpful to some extent, there may be potential distress or pain waiting for those who use the “power of positivity” to the point where it blocks any other relevant emotional signal inbound to our awareness from the brain and body. It’s fair to say that being blindly optimistic about the world is probably equally as bad as feeling negative all the time.
One reason may be that that this world we inhabit is going to have events occurring that we have no control over, ever. And for the most part, these events and scenarios contain other people with their ideas and their plans and their character defects and their flaws and all manner of inconvenient hurdles that don’t resonate with what we want. As mentioned above, sometimes these events are subject to the randomness of reality, and sometimes people will hurt you at some point or just straight up have no interest in your plans. We ourselves and other people may have the best intentions and have a positive outlook on our plans, but they simply do not work out sometimes. This may be hard to digest, but this is actually ok. The problem is, historically, we have been fed a faulty script about how the world works.
Human beings tend to only focus on the success stories rather than the failures, commonly referred to as survivorship bias. The problem here is most self-help gurus, business people, and entrepreneur’s generally only speak about how to live well in terms of the success and the goal-setting strategies. They rarely mention the failures or, worse, still ignore the stories of failure and the thousands of people who have come before them and failed. We have also heard of celebrities and successful people openly speak about their dissatisfaction with life, or worse, they aren’t with us anymore due to suicide. Robin Williams, Prince, George Micheal, to respectfully name a few. So what’s going on there?. Maybe if your happiness depends on your job, career, business venture, partner, or even your art or any other external, extrinsic value that we humans pursue, you have probably placed too much of your happiness within the said goal. This can be a recipe for disaster.
This can be crushing blow for many people because there is actually more to happiness than any of the above-mentioned or any of the very human pursuits we chase throughout our lives. Prestige, power, fame, money, and notoriety coupled with the “just stay positive the world is yours” mantra can be a recipe for pain and confusion. Let’s be honest, have you ever sat back from the deluge of social media, culture, and popular ideological belief systems and thought, “what actually truly makes me happy right now.”
More often than not, if our plans don’t work, we are left confused because we may have been operating on the basis that the universe has our back when this simply just isn’t the case. We believe that positive thoughts attract positive outcomes or any other pseudo-self-help nonsense peddled by the wellbeing industry. This mode of thinking leaves us underestimating the fact that our lives are subject for the most part to a completely random and unforgiving reality.
If the “law of attraction” is to be believed, for example, that means that every person that ended up in an ICU ward or worse from Covid19 must have projected that scenario into their lives?. Does this honestly sound like an accurate portrayal of life? Of course it doesn’t.
We here at Bear in mind have more respect for the readers of this blog than to tell them that no matter what happens, just stay positive and good things to come to those who wait, or hard work will secure your success or that coveted place in the history books because we nor any self-help book or successful person can be sure of what life is going to throw at us.
A more fitting piece of advice for this world is instead trying to stay positive all the time. How about staying curious and listen to what is going on just below your consciousness and practicing a better awareness around what you can and cannot control. What are the signals my mind and body are given me is what we should be asking?. You have a broad spectrum of emotions that want to guide you to safety and encourage you to make the right choices; we just have to tune and filter out the bullshit because trying to positive all the time or shutting out negative emotion is a resentment
against yourself or something in your environment waiting to happen. So when life gives you lemons, swallow them, sit with them, and then talk to someone about how you really feel. Think of it like this, trying to get through life with a pair of rose-tinted glasses and being blindly optimistic about how things will go in life is like playing a game of chess and ignoring the other player’s moves. Do you really think that is a game of chess you are going to win? Probably not, so why do it in life where the stake is much higher?.