Positivity and Prudent Pessimism

Being positive is seen as a key to happiness and well being, but what happens if you are too positive?

Freethinker, an unwavering belief in the power of positive thinking can be every bit as destructive as spending your life steeped in the gloomiest outlook.

Perhaps the most common cause of too much positive thinking in a person’s life is blind faith in that something ‘will come good’.

The Fake Faith Healers

Whipping their audiences into a frenzy of belief, the fake faith healers preach a message that they can cure you of your ills by the power of faith alone. Both positive thinking and blind faith is required in a huge dose to believe that the healer can alter your physiological condition by channeling their faith into yours.

‘The deaf will hear’ and ‘The wheelchair-bound will walk’ are outrageous slogans and downright lies that have been used to lure the vulnerable to buy tickets in the false hope of physical improvement. This is fraudulent behaviour that preys on the positive thinking of those who ‘believe’ they have been healed in the moment, but later realise they have not been healed at all.

It is a scam where people are told to throw away their pills with little regard to the underlying cause and treatment of their medical condition. It is also a scam where, if you are not cured or your cure doesn’t last, then your faith isn’t strong enough and it’s you that have failed not the healer. You have not ‘believed’ in their system enough and you must try harder.

The Over Promise of Self-help books

Often mixing philosophy and psychology with some real life examples, self-help books are brimming page-to-page with advice on being positive and adventurous. Of course the general message is the right one, being positive and adventurous has a natural tendency towards more happiness. But these books have to sell and so more often than not they over promise and under deliver.

Like the fake faith healers, a belief in whatever positive system they are promoting is required, although in a much more subtle way.  When the positive system doesn’t work for you, it’s not the fault of the system but yours for the incorrect way you’ve applied it.

A more respectful way to treat you is to say that you should have a measured way of being positive. Things can and will go wrong, but either way you should be prepared. Of course show dedication, a willingness to learn, smile more than frown and above all be modest in your positivity.

However, who wants to buy a book with a message of preparedness and modesty? Without any exextravagant claims such a book may seem boring and unlikely to have a glitzy cover. But that’s the message from the Smudgy Guide, being positive leads to happiness when it’s a considered approach.

Prudent Pessimism

Of course if you’re here reading the Smudgy Guide then you’re the type of person who would be highly skeptical of the fake faith healers and the false promises of self-help books in the first place.

You are a freethinker.

There’s much you can do with a clear positive vision with the application of a prudent pessimism.

It is worth developing healthy levels of confidence and self belief if you think you are lacking in them. Sometimes, focused energy is a very helpful thing but it doesn’t guarantee any results and you should be prepared for when things don’t work out.

Plan for success and prepare for failure. From the poem If by Rudyard Kipling:

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same

What You Seek

Being too positive can lead you to seek accumulating luxuries, possessions or status that will most likely not bring you a fulfilling happiness in the long term.

The vital changes to your positive well being do not come from outside circumstances, however appealing they might seem. Some external conditions, such as having an accessible network of friends, do statistically make a difference in levels to which people report being happy and well.

However, a sense of positive well-being comes from inside.

What you seek outside yourself, Freethinker, is available within.


Image from community.secondlife.com

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