Positive Aspects of Being Negative

Let’s face it, I’m no optimist. You won’t find me on any cheering squads and sales is unlikely to ever be my occupation of choice. I avoid books that involve authors like Wayne Dyer, Zig Ziglar, and Deepak Chopra. The insatiable appetites for hoorahs that involve those speakers just rub my fur the wrong way. I don’t know why, it just always has. Deep down inside of me, I’m prone to believe that Murphy was an optimist.

Now, given my distaste for unmerited optimism, one might be inclined to think that I’m a pessimist. I don’t consider this to be true either. I don’t wake up in the morning chanting “oh woe is me” nor do I think the world has gone out of its way to pee in my bowl of honey-nut cheerios. While I’m inclined to sympathize with Glum from Gulliver’s Travels (he did have some valid points), Negative ZeroI can’t honestly say that I believe “We’re never gonna make it”! I don’t believe the light at the end of the tunnel is all sunshine but I’m not fully convinced it’s a train either. I approach it with caution.

If anything, I consider that I’m a realist. I do not see the glass half-full and neither do I see it half-empty. I see just half a glass. Nothing more, nothing less. I’m somehow wired to believe that a vast majority of emotional investment in one’s own perspective is really waste of good emotional energy [something of which I don’t have a whole lot]. I tend to be like Spock on Star Trek when I make decisions. I suppose all decisions involve a bit of emotion but stuffing the whole thought process with “don’t worry, be happy” is plain silly.

I am not a pessimist; to perceive evil where it exists is, in my opinion, a form of optimism. — Roberto Rossellini

Being a realist certainly has its drawbacks but I get frustrated with those that confuse realism with pessimism. I find this most true at work where I encounter those sold-out corporate types who hang on to and echo every word the super-executives tell them. You know, super-executives, those individuals whose careers [read pay grades] are so idolized that their speeches are quoted like Scripture. The minions run around chanting their mantras like some drug induced ditto-head and I’m therefore considered “negative” when I question the rationale of decisions being made. But I digress…..

Being negative has its positives. When anyone stands up and says “We can do it!” there should always be someone who wonders at what cost. There should always be someone who says, “But should we do it”? Unmerited optimism is dangerous in its own right. While being overly negative can hinder growth & development, being overly positive [without good reason] is tantamount to suicide. Fear in the proper dose, is a healthy thing.

So why be negative? Being negative can save you money. It can save you time and it can save you from the regret of bad decisions. The optimist gurus will always chant mantras of “missed opportunity” but experience has taught me well: opportunity is ever present. If you’re emotionally pressed to make a decision ‘now’ [kinda like what happens during a multilevel marketing speech] then the odds are you’re not being optimistic, you’re being dumb. If you throw a bit more negativity into your decision making process, you’re likely to make better decisions and that’s something you can be POSITIVE about.

I try to be more optimistic [at times]. Maybe I need a psychiatrist to readjust my serotonin levels to a bright green shade of ‘the world is all rainbows & unicorns’. But really, that kind of optimism is just icky. Like, I need a shower icky. I do my best to stay far away from the negative-zero influence of doom and gloom and even the trap of realism (analysis paralysis) but I think I’d rather err a bit more to the cautious left than to the unhealthy right. I guess you could say I’m kind of optimistic about my negativity. Hmmm….I think I just turned over a new leaf.

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