The other day, I was told of a person who actually lost a friend, because they advocated looking at the positive rather than the negative in the world. We’re often told to have a positive attitude, and not just in self-improvement circles. Main stream advertisers, sports stars, Hollywood, our mothers, our teachers, and our bosses continuously remind us to turn that frown upside down. It’s a great tagline, but society as a whole doesn’t really support this optimistic mentality. We like the idea of it, but quite frankly, people who tend to see the glass as half full, who manage to put a positive spin on almost any situation, are generally seen as naïve, immature and even downright stupid. We’re supposed to face the facts and see things how they really are. We’re supposed to face reality.
The assumption is that if you don’t look the problem square in the face and keep staring at it, you can’t make it go away. But it doesn’t work that way. That’s like trying to appease an aggressive dog by staring it down. All you’ll do is make it angrier. By continuously giving attention and energy to the reality you’ve created by looking at what you don’t want, you just keep re-creating that same reality over and over again. Want a different reality? Try looking at something else; perhaps at what you do want…
I remember a conversation I had a couple of years ago, about the environment and general state of the world. I expressed that I wasn’t at all worried about the world. From my point of view, it is absolutely fine. Big picture wise, the earth and all its inhabitants, will always find their balance. I was immediately bombarded with passionately angry questions. How could I possibly think that way? How could I be so damn naïve? With all the wars and famine, people killing each other, oil companies spewing their poison into our oceans, genetically engineered food, lack of human rights, and whole host of other horrible things that proved that our world was surely about to die a miserable, nasty death, how could I not see the suffering, the horror of it all? How could I be so insensitive and just sit by and do nothing and stick my head in the sand? How could I not look?
My answer: Because I deliberately choose not to.
Most people honestly believe that it is their responsibility as good, caring human beings to seek out and stare down the angry dogs of the world. Let’s look at all the problems we have, and never let them out of our sight. Let’s continue to give all our focus, all our attention, all our energy to the problem. Because we all know what happens: the more energy you give to something, the less of it you get, right? Erm, no. So, how’s that approach working out for us, as a whole? Have we ended up with less wars, less drugs, less human rights violations, healthier food production, less famine, less pollution, less angry dogs?
The more energy you give to something, the MORE of it you get. Perhaps it’s time to try a different approach. Instead of giving all of our energy to the problem, why don’t we give our attention to the solution for a change? Instead of seeing the world as broken, why don’t we envision it as healthy, peaceful and balanced? Instead of focusing on human rights violations, why not see people as loving and respectful?
I don’t have to keep staring at a problem to be aware of it. I can look at it once, acknowledge it and then use it to help me define what I’d rather have instead. And then, I give all of my energy to that vision.
But how does that help the world? First, how does sitting around feeling miserable and helpless help the world? It doesn’t. Quite the opposite, in fact. And no one is saying that we can’t take action. But action taken from a place of fear and/or obligation isn’t going to help. Think of the drug war. There’s plenty of action being taken there, and all we’re getting is more drugs. Huh. Who’d have thought? (sarcasm alert)
Inspired action, taken from a solution oriented place will be a million times more effective every time. Because inspired action is solution oriented, not problem oriented. Every major industrial or technological breakthrough we’ve ever experienced came because someone was willing to envision a different reality – one where the problem no longer existed. How about highlighting the farmers who are making good money off of natural agriculture, so people who want to buy from them will know where to go? How about letting people know it’s possible to make ethical billions by doing a story on the corporations who actually have a conscience (yep, they do exist!) Or showing entrepreneurs who are doing business in the rainforests that are actually benefiting the locals as well as helping to preserve and rebuild the ecosystem? How about looking at everything that’s going right instead of all the stuff that’s going wrong?
And we can’t really blame the media (ok, we can, but it doesn’t solve anything). Remember that the media are just running a business which caters to its customers. With everyone focusing on the negative in the world (the problem), the media cater to that point of view. They show us horrible stories supporting the end of days story. The amount of negative news is completely disproportionately represented though. Far more things go right in the world everyday than go wrong. If no one was willing to look at the bad news anymore, the media would broadcast the good news. They would not cater to an audience that doesn’t exist. The nightly news isn’t causing us to focus on the problem. They portray only the problem because we refuse to focus on the solution.
Even Albert Einstein said “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” Being deliberately naïve, consciously unaware of all the problems in the world and holding a vision of what we want the world to be is not immature or stupid. It’s courageous. Be one of the ones who has to courage to go against the bad news grain. Envision the world the way you want it to be and hold steady to that vision. Focus on the solution and don’t let anyone convince you that your approach, the one that you intuitively know is right, is the cause of the state of the world today. We got to where we are, by looking at what we don’t want. If we want to create a different world, we have to do something differently. In fact, one could argue that since the very definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, it would be downright crazy not to change our approach… 🙂
Another great article. I’m just now finally making the shift to being more solution oriented than problem oriented. The rationalization that argues that we’ve got to attack our problems and that not constantly feeling bad about horrible things was akin to suporting them was really well ingrained. I think a lot of people, myself included, initially have a huge push back against this because on the surface it sounds like the philosophy is trying to get us to pretend that there aren’t issues or to ignore people who are suffering. But when you see something that you feel is wrong, understand what it is you don’t like, and then turn your attention to how you want it to be, then the solutions and idea you come up with are aimed at getting the desired state.
Anger and outrage are not necessary components to change. I know lots of people who talk about all the problems we have and the predominant feeling under the rage or sadness is helplessness. Because they just can’t see any way out of it.
Sure, being angry when you see a horrible situation is natural but the next step is to move past it, figure out how things can be better and work towards that. I think most people would agree that rage is not conducive to clear thinking. 🙂
Another quote that perfectly reflects the point you’re making in this article is from another mind as great as Einstein’s:
“Be the change you want to see in the world” -Gandhi
Very uplifting post! I believe that what we choose to focus on expands. As we become conscious of our thoughts we can make change through our vibrational energy, as this is a vibrational universe. Wonderfully written post.
Thank you so much for your kind words, Baker. And once we get that this is a vibrational Universe, everything begins to make sense… 🙂
I totally agree with you.
An interesting anatogy.Thanks for your sharing
You’re very welcome. 🙂
Energy flows to where attention goes. The war on drugs is my favorite (sarcasm). The war on anything for that matter never works. What we fight, fights us.
There is a large mass of people that thrive on negativity in one form or another. I haven’t watched mainstream news for over a decade because of the spew that comes out of it.
I see a fork in the road for humanity ahead. People who desire a world full of cooperation, togetherness and mutual respect on one road and negativity addicts going down the other. It will be as if the two worlds will not even be able to cross paths anymore.
Thanks so much for the comment. I totally agree with you. I haven’t watched TV in many, many years (I watch TV shows online at times, but never TV). I do think the rising global vibration will help the negativity addicts out quite a bit. A lot of people are waking up now, even life long pessimists.:)
Great post and just when I needed to hear it. I sometimes allow myself to be sucked into all the negative crap that is going on in the world and find myself putting more energy into it than I do what I want to attract. I think your approach is dead on, just focus on we want the outcome to be.
Thanks for stopping by Todd! I totally feel ya. 🙂 The “real” world can be so seductive, it’s so easy to forget that we can deliberately focus on something, rather than just being subject to what’s in front of us. It’s like watching a horrible movie, really hating it, but not remembering that you can just turn it off and do something else.
Totally agree. Even if it is really hard to see solution’s when the world is facing so hard “realities” it sounds more appealing to me to keep searching for them, than intensifying and creating more of the same. And as our friend Abraham says: Worrying is using your imagination to create something you don’t want.
Thanks for another great one, hugs ^o^
Thanks for the comment Rui! Abraham definitely rules. The message is so simple, but the implementation can seem a bit overwhelming at times. We just want to go back to our old training… 😉
Hugs back atcha!
Well, I like the approach and I’m myself a positive person, but I think been positive and looking at the good side is one thing, pretending the bad things are not there and due to this, not act against it, if you have the power (or even if you can try) to change,it’s bad… and it’ selfish, and it’s sad…
I think it’s easy to leave a good life, and a lot of people have (I include myself on it) but thank God we have a lot of people who are not negative but who have no fear of facing reality and fighint it everyday, because they want other to have a life as good as theirs.
I hope I can be someone like that!
Thanks so much for the comment. I’m not saying that we can’t take action, just that we shouldn’t take action from a place of fear or obligation. Focusing on the solution will often inspire tremendous action in that direction, and it’s this kind of action that actually yields results.
“Fighting” reality only means that we’re pushing against what we don’t want, and that creates more of it. This is the hardest piece to internalize, because we’ve been taught all our lives to react to what we see, instead of creating it differently. It’s a huge paradigm shift, to be sure.
In the end, though, all that matters is that you feel good. If whatever you’re doing feels good to you and fills you with joy, then semantics are unimportant. And from your joyful place, you’ll be able to help the most people; not by fighting for them, but by uplifting them, empowering them and assisting them in finding their own way. And if this approach doesn’t resonate with you, that’s ok, too. All that matters is that you feel good in whatever it is that you’re doing and more importantly – who it is you’re being. 🙂
This is -i think an excellent article from you Melody–and i appreciate the response,s from another–at 65 years now–i acknowledge all outlook -pers[pectives as unique and absolutely appropiate from an individuals -history/filters-at any given time. basically i appreciate your outlook, melody as a very wide greatly encompassing one..thats why its such a delicious treat reading your writings–though -obviously ..quite a bit older than you- your refreshing warmth and genuine -wit remain greatly appreciated. thanks!
Thanks for the kind words Earl! I’m really humbled by your comment.
“deliberately naïve, consciously unaware of all the problems in the world”…
I agree with most of what you wrote. However, it’s not one extreme or the other. I feel that sometimes, for the sake of making your point, you tend to “over-simplify”: for example, people who organized to help end the state-sponsored segregation in the U.S. had a dream and focused on it, yes, but were also outraged, and for more than one minute.
On the other hand, a lot of people (probably the majority) are more interested in entertainment than being truly aware/concerned about the world at large (at least not for more than one minute). Your reasoning would make sense to me if we were in a world were most people were truly conscious/outraged. Then, we could say: “see, being outraged doesn’t work”. But in today’s world I feel that most people aren’t that conscious and choose being “deliberately unaware”, this is why we’re where we are now IMHO.
“Sitting around feeling miserable”? No. But I don’t think being “deliberately naïve, consciously unaware of all the problems in the world” will do the trick either. It’s about balance.
You’re right. I was showing the extremes in order to illustrate a point. Seeing the problem for only a second and then shifting to the solution right away is an ideal. In the real world, it tends to take us longer, but the point is to shift, period. And yes, we do tend to waffle back and forth, seeing the problem, looking at the solution, back to the problem, then the solution again. We don’t have to do a 180 – finding a way to be MORE solution oriented than problem oriented will do the trick. And as your example of segregation showed, a (relatively) small number of individuals who have let in the solution to some degree can have a giant impact on the whole. I stand by my point of view, though, that it is possible to be so solution oriented that the problem completely ceases to exist. Even in this world today.
I do think that there are still plenty of people out there who are predominantly in a state of outrage. They are so stuck in that vibration on a subject, the solution has no chance to enter. And anyone who attempts to point out that maybe it’s not ALL bad, that there’s a chance for things to get better, is subject to ridicule. All I’m saying is, it’s ok to be positive. 🙂
Thanks for your comment!
Yes! Yes! Yes! I am forever catching grief from my family for not facing reality. I do face reality, just not for very long. I’m so much happier looking for the good in the world. Thank you for this.
Thanks for the comment, Joy. I think most of those who go against the grain (in anything) experience some backlash, at least in the beginning. But the more stable we get in that new vibration, the more secure we are in our positive stance, the less we’ll even be aware of those who don’t share that point of view. They, along with all the bad news, will just gravitate right out of our existence. 🙂