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Opinion / Blog

Why I choose to be positive about life

By Michael Murphy (blog.chinadaily.com.cn) Updated: 2015-12-31 10:40

I guess the biggest reason I choose to be positive about life is because so many others (the vast majority) aren't. I hear negativity all of the time. People are tired, unhappy, discontent, complaining, blaming... Someone needs to counterbalance all of the negativity. I feel that at least one of those who should counterbalance the negativity is me.

So many complain about government and rich people. In the West, it is more about government. Here in China, though rich people (people with ill-gotten wealth and those who have done it honestly) seem to be hated and revered at the same time. Students complain about school, parents complain about school, many criticize education, the economy, air pollution, etc. I'm not saying that they don't have valid arguments. They do. There's a lot to support their negativity and complaints. However, it only broadens the problem. It does nothing to solve the problem.

In the West, most people believe that awareness is the key to solving society's problems. However, awareness without positive action does nothing to solve any problems, but, only makes them worse. After hearing a lengthy complaint about such problems, you are now left with the emotional hangover of the negativity and the further persistence of the problem. In my way of thinking, what good does that do? My answer is, none. It does no good. It only creates a new problem.

Our brains release chemicals to make us feel a certain emotional or psychological rush (euphoria) when we complain. It is a natural drug that is released inside of us that makes us feel this. However, with any type of stimulant to the brain, natural or synthetic, there are always consequences that result from such actions. It is a kind of empty feeling in our emotions. The rush doesn't last long and we are left feeling hopeless, depressed and drained.

Many find a lot of negative aspects to their jobs, or, if they are students, to studying. I look at the alternatives. The alternative to not having (or getting the opportunity) the chance to study is, get a low paying job that it physically demanding and possibly working in an environment that is far less than pleasing or satisfying. The alternative to not having to go to work every day is that you could sit home, have no money, be depressed and find more things to be negative about.

We have a saying in the West about the person who chooses to be an optimist. We say, "History proves, again and again, that in the end, the optimist is the realist." Henry Ford, the great industrialist who created the Ford company, said, "If you think you can do something or if you think you cannot, either way, you are right." Those who believe in a better future are much more likely to take the action required to create a better future. They will make their dreams come true by thinking positively, believing that they can do it and then, taking the required action to do it.

I'm an optimist and choose to think positively because it has afforded me a great life. Though starting out poor and with little to no ambition or dreams, since I learned to think positively, I've traveled the world and have had the opportunity to experience many things which I believe would have never happened had I only been negative about life.

Why do I choose to be positive about life? Well, simply put, it makes me happy and has proved to be the best way of life I could have ever chosen.

 

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