Perspective on the Negative

Earlier this month, we mentioned that March is National Optimism Month. And while the message was generally received as appreciated, by some it was met with skepticism. Since optimism is often looked at as subjective, let’s take a more objective view of it today.

If you read the daily news or listen to the radio (especially some talk radio shows), it is not easy to see much that is positive. The last few years have been particularly difficult, with ongoing challenges in the Middle East, Africa – just about anywhere, really. And let’s face it: political rhetoric can certainly get one down – if we let it.

Let’s put a little perspective to the negative: There are roughly 7 billion people on good old Planet Earth. That means that on any given day, there are probably a minimum of 7 billion stories being lived. Now, take today’s newspaper or your favorite news app, and count the negative stories. How many do you find? 50? 100? 200?

Now, compare that against 7 billion. A pretty small percentage. In fact, at 200 stories, it works out to 0.000000028% – at least that’s as far as most calculators will go. We know that the news philosophy typically is, “If it bleeds, it leads.” But are you going to listen to the 0.000000028%, or go looking for the 99.99999972% that stands a fairly good chance of being positive?

You can certainly find the negative, if that’s what you go looking for. But the reverse is also true. If you go looking for the positive, if you go about looking for solutions instead of problems, you will find them. And with each perspective, how does that affect how you live your days?

The decision is ours to make and no one else can answer these questions for us. But when it comes right down to it, we need to decide which is going to make us the happiest?