To everything in life, there’s always a negative and a positive perspective.
I didn’t start getting serious with life until late 2008. But before then, I saw every bad situation as bad and every good situation as good. And I bet many of us still see things this way.
Then I laid my hands on a self help book by Brian Tracy, “Goals”, that talked about setting goals and adding value. That’s when everything changed! I started seeing bad situations as challenges with hidden lessons that can be learned by anyone. And guess what?
When you see a glass on your table filled halfway with water, you could say, “That glass is half empty, why don’t I pour out the water.” or, “That glass is half full, why don’t I fill it up.”
You’ll notice that from the first question, you’re actually making the condition of the glass worse. That’s the negative view.
From the second question, you’re making the glass feel a whole lot better with itself (if that were possible). That’s the positive perspective.
Unfortunately, most of us prefer the negative perspective by default. The fact is that it is not our fault.
Our environment, the circumstances we pass through on a daily basis, the negative people we meet, and the bad experiences in our past all contribute to this negative perspective. It becomes the new normal and we suddenly stop seeing anything wrong with it.
But what do you think is the real reason behind this negative perspective?
Is it due to the way we are treated? Or is it because we just want to act that way?
We choose to see things negatively because of our emotions.
Negative emotions give birth to negative reactions
When a negative emotion like anger sets in, you automatically don’t see the good in anything. That’s why it becomes so easy for us to enter destruction mode and either curse the driver who’s entering our lane illegally, break something, or go to the bottle. The driver suddenly becomes worthless; that TV you’re about to break looks like crap to you and you feel valueless the moment you take your first gulp from that liquor bottle.
The emotion you feel at any given time determines your perspective at that time. So, in order to see the positive side of any negative situation, you need to first change your emotion from the negative to the positive.
And how do you do that?
Simple! Let’s do some math.
Before you move from a negative number to a positive one (if you still remember your high school math), you’ll pass through zero. Zero is a neutral number. For your emotion to change from the negative, you must first ask yourself one question;
“What is this trying to teach me?”
By asking yourself this question, you’ll suddenly change from “feeling mode” to “thinking mode” in a snap.
Let’s see some live examples of how to apply this and how it’ll ultimately change your life.
1. You’re driving to work and a crazy rough driver enters onto your lane, without giving you any signal.
Your negative perspective: This guy is trying to kill me!
Your emotion: You get angry and probably scream at him.
What is this trying to teach you? To be patient with people, no matter how intolerable they seem.
Your positive perspective: You’ll believe that the driver really doesn’t know anything about driving the right way and so, you won’t let his action ruin your day. You then hope that the law catches up with him so he can learn his lesson on the don’ts of driving.
2. Your teenage son screams at you for not allowing him go out with his friends that night.
Your negative perspective: You get angry because your son isn’t listening to you and doesn’t respect you. Your next reaction is to shout him down or ground him to his room.
What is this trying to teach you? To learn how to put yourself in your son’s shoes so you can understand how to deal with him.
Your positive perspective: You feel love for him because he is your son and is still ignorant of the dangers of night outings. You then try to make him understand that you’re not doing what you’re doing because you hate him.
3. You go for a job interview and are not accepted.
Your negative perspective: Grief comes upon you and you start to feel that you’re not good enough.
What is this trying to teach you? This is probably not the right job for you or that you weren’t accepted because something is missing from your resume.
Your positive perspective: You’ll go make yourself more qualified and try another job vacancy.
4. You fail an exam that you prepared hard for.
Your negative perspective: You blame yourself for not passing and probably conclude that you’re dumb!
What is this trying to teach you? To change your reading pattern. Something is wrong with what you read, when you read and where you read.
Your positive perspective: You’ll ask yourself, “Why didn’t I answer those questions correctly?” You then change your reading times and pattern.
5. After 1 year of marriage, your wife, who pays the rent and major house expenses, gets a divorce.
Your negative perspective: You feel heartbroken because in this case, you’re the victim (you love her but she no longer loves you). You’ll feel sorry for yourself and join your friends who are bums.
What is this trying to teach you? To learn how to become a better husband and overcome major emotional setbacks when they occur.
Your positive perspective: You’ll start to see the divorce as an opportunity to start fresh. You probably get a new job or start a small business of your own.
6. Your car breaks down on your way to a very important meeting which could cost you your job.
Your negative perspective: You get out of your car, curse and kick it. You start to blame your car for trying to get you fired, even before you are fired.
What is this trying to teach you? Take precautions at the right time.
Your positive perspective: You blame yourself for not doing the right thing at the right time. Your engine has been showing signs that it needed repair but for some reason you neglected it (note: blaming yourself for what happens to you means you are taking responsibility for your actions. This is the best way to get rid of negative emotions).
Did you notice anything common among the scenarios above?
You’ll see that in all the positive perspectives, you concentrated on one thing…
Your positive perspective was based on either increasing the value of yourself or your offender. It is at this point that your perspective changes and those negative emotions vanish.
Once you concentrate on the lessons you can learn from any negative circumstance in which you find yourself, your perspective automatically becomes positive.
And sure, I donÃt need to tell you that you life changes for the better, because it does!
The moment you start to see life for what it can be, you will become the kind of person that you should be. You’ll automatically become more positive about the negativities around you. The good thing is that you donÃt even have to try changing your thoughts, because your mentality changes. Just concentrate on increasing value and your personal values will also increase. That’ll be the ideal YOU!
How do you see negative situations? What’s keeping you from adding value and becoming the ideal YOU?