It’s about 8:15a.m. on a Monday morning and I’m slowly making my way up the stairs to the common kitchen area in hopes of pouring myself some of that magical and precious liquid known as coffee. With eyes barely open, and a notably zombie-like pace, I reach my destination. I spot a co-worker by the counter preparing his breakfast and I greet him with the best “Good morning” I can manage under the circumstances. He quickly turns to me and begins with, “You’re not going to believe this. I got an email last night with the stupidest request…”
Now, at this point I realize that I am about to be bombarded with yet another work rant that I did not ask about nor feel interested in. I pick up a mug and stare at its empty bottom while my colleague continues to voice the same overplayed complaints. Suddenly his noise is simply too much to bear and I abruptly cut him off.
“Let me stop you right there. It’s not even 8:30 in the damn morning and you’ve already started whining and complaining about work? Cannot you not at least wait, out of courtesy, for me to have some coffee before cornering me with this? Why are you so negative ALL the time? I’m sorry, I really just don’t want to hear this right now…”
I guess my directness threw him off because for a couple of seconds he just stood there dumbfounded. I instantly felt a pang of regret because I did consider him a friend and I had never truly lost my temper with him until that moment, but I had reached my limit. For weeks I had been noticing how co-workers, and people in general, spoke more about the negatives of life than of the good. Yes, life is difficult and we are constantly fighting to keep our heads over the water. Life is a challenge and we should feel blessed to have the opportunity to face it.
If you’re going to complain be prepared to offer alternative solutions, otherwise shut up.
While there is nothing wrong with people pointing out things that need improvement, they should also be prepared to offer solutions. Simply complaining about something will do nothing to change the situation, it will only create an aura of negativity around you that will surely make any future efforts to find solution all the more challenging. Overcoming obstacles is mostly a mental game. If you want to succeed to have to put aside failures (after learning from them first!) and work towards the future.
Don’t confuse pessimism with realism.
I love it when people tell me, “I’m not a pessimist, I’m a realist.” First of all, if you had to utter those words then newsflash: You ARE a pessimist. No matter the situation there is always a positive aspect or opportunity to be taken from it. Thinking otherwise is simply immature and ignorant. Whenever friends come to me with their problems I always try to brainstorm with them and help them find at least one positive in their situation. If there is not immediate positive aspect that can be identified them we look for opportunities. When you close yourself off to creative thinking and hope you’ve already lost.
What did negativity ever accomplish? Other than annoying others and making you miserable, absolutely nothing.
Some time ago I went through a really stressful period in my life and unfortunately developed a bit of anxiety in the process. I was constantly thinking of the negative what-ifs in my life and spending too much time contemplating things out of my control. When I finally got tired of feeling so overwhelmed it dawned on me that all my problems were within my power to change and control. Your life is your own. We often underestimate the power within ourselves and forget that with a little bit of work and true commitment, almost anything can be accomplished. When I started focusing on the positives in my life the change that took place in my mind, heart, and soul can not be properly described here. It was as if the world had changed. Colors were brighter, problems didn’t seem that bad, I was able to take advantage of new opportunities I never bothered with before. But when you’re stuck in your own stubborn pessimism it might a little bit of roughing up for you to get the message.
I guess my point here is: If you have people you care about and they care about you in return, if you have shelter above your head, if you can dream, if you can hope… The world is yours. So STOP being such a Negative Nancy.
“There are only two worlds – your world, which is the real world, and other worlds, the fantasy. Worlds like this are worlds of the human imagination: their reality, or lack of reality, is not important. What is important is that they are there. these worlds provide an alternative. Provide an escape. Provide a threat. Provide a dream, and power; provide refuge, and pain. They give your world meaning. They do not exist; and thus they are all that matters.”
― Neil Gaiman, The Books of Magic