How Should We Deal with Negativity and Positivity in Life? Top 6 Tips
As many of you are already aware, life comes with plenty of ups and downs. Many of those ups and downs are experienced in our pursuit of happiness and success. Ambitious people with a winning mindset are especially prone to come against varying degrees of both negativity and positivity along the journey. In fact, anyone trying to live life will experience them in one way or another over time.
Negativity comes in various forms. It can arise from negative interactions with others, or it is conjured by our own emotions that are stirred up in the face of trials and adversities. The short of it is that negativity can often lead us into despair or cause us to become dejected. If not dealt with correctly, negativity can throw us off course and set us on a downward spiral towards utter defeat.
Like negativity, positivity is also subject to both external and internal experiences. However, a positive environment is far better suited for success. It leaves us feeling good and provides us with emotional ‘fuel’ to charge ahead towards success. In short, positivity inspires us.
Unfortunately, the ebb and flow of negativity and positivity in our lives can provide a very unstable and unsettling environment. In fact, many ‘sojourners’ miss out on much of the blessing that positivity brings because they are so busy focussing on the next bout of negative influences.
Oh, if only we could turn negativity into positivity! Well, the truth is, we can! It’s all about training our minds to see the world and our journey in it, differently. It’s worked for many influential men and women in history.
In this article, we will explore some fundamental Stoic principles that have helped many of the world’s strongest leaders live more positive lives and enjoy greater margins of ‘success’ in their journey. Men, like Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius and Theodore Roosevelt, are examples. Admiral James Stockdale leaned heavily on strong Stoic principles when leading squadrons of air fighters in Vietnam and when surviving 7 years as a prisoner of war.
6 Useful Insights for Navigating the Negativity and Positivity We Encounter in Life
Winners in life see things very differently from ‘average joes’, which is what gives them the ability to live seemingly unaffected by the troubles that life brings.
Let us have a further look at the tips we could put into practice to start changing our mindsets about negativity and positivity and live a more fruitful and emotionally balanced life.
1. Concentrate on Things You Have Power Over
Many of the things that happen in life are far beyond our influence and control. This is probably one of the most sober-minded truths that we need to realise along our journey on this earth. So, does that mean that we should live in fear and leave it all to fate? No, we need to find our happiness in the things that we can control in life, rather.
Stoic philosopher Epictetus said: “Our first job is this, to divide and distinguish things into two categories: Externals I cannot control, but the choices I make with regards to what I do control. Where will I find good or bad? In me, in my choices.”
There is no use worrying about external influencing factors in our lives, for they are inevitable. As such, our happiness should never be tied to external things like these. Instead, it should be fastened to things we can control. This way the volatile swing between negativity and positivity is minimised. So, what are these things?
Best selling author of the book, “The Power of Positive Leadership,” Jon Gordon, points out that there are three things we can control – Our effort, our attitude, and our actions.
You cannot achieve your goals without putting the effort in. Find your self-worth in the amount of effort you put into a project. Do not let someone else’s opinion of your project define its success. You must define its success by what you can control. If your efforts do not get you where you thought they might then build upon your past work with even more effort.
Choose to radiate positivity. It is contagious. Also, the more to practice a positive attitude, the more likely you are to make it a lasting character trait. While things that happen may be negative, you can choose how you react to them. Even if you receive criticism, never see it as a negative slight on your character. Sure, you cannot help the fact that someone else is being negative, but you can maintain composure and remain confident in your work.
Always treat others as you want to be treated. When you spread positivity, you are creating a positive environment around you. This is a fundamental principle in just about every religion and philosophy out there. You’ll be amazed at how this simple action can influence negativity and positivity around you. It’s something you have power over, so make the decision to be good and follow through with it no matter what life throws your way.
2. Lose Self Conceit
The simple truth is that you cannot learn what you think you already know. Elon Musk is one of the most successful businessmen in the world, yet he is a voracious reader. He realises that he doesn’t know everything and admits that he is always open to learning something new. We need to stop being self-conceited and realise that we need to carry on learning new lessons every day.
Both situations of negativity and positivity provide platforms to learn more about ourselves and the way we react to certain stimuli. This is invaluable information to teach us what part of our character needs development. If we turn every situation into a teachable moment, then we can’t help but advance in life.
3. All Hardships are Trainable Moments
Be sure to see every adversity in life as a chance to strengthen yourself. Negativity and positivity should just be words that make you think of advancement. When faced with a problem or a trial, see it as the perfect opportunity to learn patience, endurance, and resilience.
When you build your body according to the health experts, you need to use the resistance of the weights to build your muscles. In the same way, resistance in life builds a strong mind. Difficult situations should be seen as a way forward rather than as an obstacle. Marcus Aurelius (former Roman Emperor) said it himself: “What stands in the way becomes the way.”
Ancient Stoics held onto the notion that you should actually seek out difficulty. They believed that life was worth nothing, had it not overcome an enemy (hardship) and won a battle. With each passing victory, relish in the accomplishment. It is in this place that you will start to find happiness and begin to radiate positivity.
Think of it this way, after facing various hurdles in life, you eventually become a keen athlete that simply takes new obstacles in their stride. Your newfound confidence will make life a lot more enjoyable in the long run.
4. Rationalize Your Hardships
Often people melt under the heat of adversity because they overthink the situation. More often than not, we blow things out of proportion. What we need to do is stop, breathe, and access the danger/problem soberly. Once we rationalize the true worst-case scenario, we can focus on what we have the power to change in the situation.
Another great philosopher, Seneca, said, “There are more things likely to frighten us than there are to crush us. We suffer more in imagination than we do in reality.” We need to stop torturing ourselves with anxiety over obstacles that are hardly as perilous as they seem.
Once we rationalize the hardship, we can put into practice every other tip on this list to deal with the negativity and positivity of the situation.
5. Who are You Socialising With?
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, “Tell me with whom you consort, and I will tell you who you are; if I know how you spend your time, then I know what might become of you.”
If you are serious about living your best life, make sure that you cut out negative influences. Do not be scared to end old friendships if they are negatively affecting you. Instead, socialise with those that make you feel better about yourself and who radiate positivity. You will find that their mindsets become infectious.
Seneca said, “Associate with those who make you better and welcome those whom you, yourself, can improve. The process is mutual; for all men learn as they teach.”
So, not only is surrounding yourself with positivity beneficial to your growth but the process of passing it on is as well. Sharing your stance on negativity and positivity will effectively teach you a whole lot more about leading a more positive life.
6. Carpe Diem – Seize the Day!
Live life to the fullest as if there is no tomorrow. After all, the future is outside of your control. What you do with the present is well within your influence. So, find happiness in the present and don’t let the ebb and flow of negativity and positivity put a damper on your efforts.
Live immediately and keep short accounts with yourself so that you can learn the lesson you need to learn in the moment. This ensures that if tomorrow does come, you will be ready to take it in your stride.
We hope that some of the principles we uncovered in this article are able to help you the way they have aided us. Negativity and positivity should both be words connected to our growth as individuals. When we live for the present and worry only about the things we can control, we live a life with greater peace and reward.