Thirst for Positivity

The best way to not get thirsty is to hydrate before you can get thirsty. Positivity is the equivalent for hydration. 

It seems like the world is caught in a Merry Go Round of negativity...or is it just me? No, I think there is a lot of negativity in the world today. How can there not be? The pandemic, politics, environmental stress, mass shootings, obesity is rampant, poverty, unemployment, religion, and the list goes on. Life seems to be one great big downer these days. Everything is just so negative.

In my private life it is not much different. My 90 year old father is a positive bloke to most people, but that is basically a façade. He complains all the time, and that is nothing new. My mother, who passed away 3 years ago, would get up and say, "Today I am going to have a good day!" with a determination I didn't quite understand. That would last up until the point my father would come into the room and cast his dark cloud of negativity over everything and within 30 minutes had my mother in tears. Today, that is the gauntlet I have to deal with.

It isn't as if my father means to be that way, as mom would say, "He can't help it. He is just being who he is. He isn't a bad person, he means well, but he is one of those people who can suck the air out of a room." She would always say that she had to find a way to be happy in face of that daily gauntlet. In the end, I don't think it is possible.

I walk around the neighborhood here where I grew up. It is a beautiful neighborhood, a subdivision that I saw grow during my childhood. The farmland being eaten up by lots, houses, streets, and electric lines. But, the interesting fact is that there are a lot more trees on the land now than there was when it was being used as farmland.

My point is, Bowling Green is a very nice town to live in. It has good schools, a beautiful university that anchors the economy and energizes the town with the influx of youth and talented educators. The medical care is excellent and the number of parks and beautification projects continue to grow. There is the performing arts center, 2 orchestras (University and the private one) a minor league baseball franchise. There are houses of worship for every taste. There is a varied, established, and growing industry base and the roads and streets are kept in great shape. Plus, it is a safe place to live.

So as I walked around the neighborhood and thought about the misery in our country and around the world I found myself wondering how it is possible to be negative, when I am living in a veritable paradise?

There is a scale between being a Pollyanna of naïve positivity and a Debbie Downer of pessimistic negativity. I must say that my nature is to be a Pollyanna but it feels like my life has been often surrounded by Debbie Downers.

I consider myself to be a realist and try to see things as they are without attaching an opinion to them. But, when things collide with my sense of rightness then I guess it is not so much as that it makes me negative, but it actually hurts me in some way. Ego maybe?

One of my biggest challenges is in trying to do something positive and there being those that are out to poke holes in my efforts and dreams. Even the nicest and most well meaning of people will bring you down with their "sound advice" and a list of reasons why something won't work.

I'll never forget when I told someone I wanted to be a musician, write music and all...they said "Well, most of the good ones have melodies floating around in their heads all of the time." As if they knew anything about it. This complete bull of "It comes naturally to people stuff is ridiculous." Nobody comes by it naturally. It is work, but people don't understand that because they don't see the work, they just see the result of it. But, things like that are disheartening because what it is saying is that no matter how hard you work at it, you can't succeed unless you are a savant. It is complete cow dung.

So, when I am working on my business I have the tape recordings firing off in my head from the litany of downers from well meaning people playing back over and over and over again. I'm quite tired of it. The fact is, there will always be a long list of good and sound reasons not to do something. Of course it would be easier to do nothing. Duh.

My Pollyanna nature believes that people are enthusiastic and well meaning about what you are doing. But, the truth is there is a lot of sabotage going on within the mask of "healthy encouragement." It is kind of like a balloon, that is constantly having to blow hot air into the vast cavern of material to get off the ground, and then the "helpers" coming along and throw little rocks into the basket. It doesn't seem like those pebbles of weight should make any difference at all, but cumulatively they weigh you down.

With that kind of "help" you don't solve any problem." It is important to discern what is actually a valid problem that can be fixed and a complaint that can't. Work on real problems and don't spend much time trying to figure out petty reasons why something won't work. The needle won't move if you don't move it forward.

Trying to work out my life right now and going forward, probably my biggest challenge is to find a way to "Be happy, feel good, and get something done that benefits the world, and my bank account."

These past ten years have been an accumulation of liabilities. Since 2008 I have gained 60 pounds, lost my voice, lost my career, and moved home to take care of aging and sick parents. I am not doing well, and no kind of positivity is going to change the facts of my case. In all honesty, I don't have a clue how I am going to turn the tide. Should I give up and just accept everything and live out my life doing nothing of value besides chasing selfish pleasures and "enjoy" life? Maybe.

All I know is that no matter what I do going forward I don't want to be beset by this overwhelming sense of negativity that permeates my daily existence.

A car standing still creates no air resistance. The faster it goes the more resistance it creates. Maybe life is that way. The air is the world, and it is just "there". When you try to move forward it isn't the world that is causing the resistance, but your efforts moving through it, the more you try to do, the more resistance you will have. Maybe that is the key to an accurate evaluation of life. It doesn't mean you shouldn't travel, it only means that it is going to take more and more effort.

On the other hand, an airplane moving faster causes the resistance to move around the wing and creates a lift which gets it off the ground, so now you are flying. Flight is about using the facts of nature to work for you.

When I think about businesses this morning and my own business I realize that a company like Nike, Amazon, or Walmart don't show their problems to the world, they keep them internal. On the outside, it just looks all so smooth and right. I'm sure on the inside it doesn't work that way.

This is a key for my business. On the outside it must appear that it is all going very smoothly and that the customer gets what they came for. On the inside, but ONLY on the inside do you deal with REAL problems. It isn't about honesty or being authentic, it is about being professional. So, how to do that?

Don't discuss your business with the those who have nothing to do with it. Just do the business, serve the customers, and make a great thing. Talking to the peanut gallery will get you nowhere but a lot of distraction.

Finally, as far as life is concerned. Why are children happier than adults? One reason is they play more and more fully. Kids run jump and play. When you become an adult it seems that stops.

We work, we play, we sleep, we cook, we eat, we love, we rest. Making time to play, to rest, to sleep, and to love is what life is, work is a product of fulfilling a purpose and making things better. Work is only a part of life. We must make time for living.

To be happy you have to do happy, or do the things that make you happy and be conscious of your happiness while you are doing them.