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The Positive Power of Negativity

We don’t need the negative waves, right? Certainly not in a perfect world, but there’s some positives we can take away from the negativity we often see and hear.

Negative Waves

Sorry about the ad in the video, but the wait was worth it. Kelly’s Heroes is a classic! Sometimes, like Oddball, we simply want to say, “Knock it off with them negative waves.” We’ve set off on a great undertaking, or had a great idea for something life-changing, only to have the flame in our spirit dashed with a bucket of ice cold bring-down.

“Do you have time to do that?”
“Are you qualified for that?”
“It might not work.”
“Haven’t people already done that?”The Positive Power of Negativity
“You might get hurt doing that.”
“Have you thought about when this/that happens?”

Or, potentially the worst thing to hear when telling someone close about your idea:

“Well, that’s good.” Then the conversation changes to something completely different, and you’re left thinking maybe your idea wasn’t that great after all.

Ooh, even better:

“Wait! I know what you should do? You should do X.”

I’ll admit it. I’m someone whose natural tendency is to take those occasions to heart. I get angry. I get down on myself for being so naive for thinking I could accomplish anything great. I am destined to hold a cardboard sign on a street corner and my life to this point has been a sham.

But, mostly I get angry.

Bless Their Hearts, Literally

Despite my first inclination when hearing such drivel, which is to assume the utterance was an indication of his/her desire that I not succeed, it was likely put forth from a good, even well-intentioned, place.

Here are a few places where these statements originate:

  • They don’t understand – You have told them a thing that you have thoughtfully considered. A thing of which you know a great deal, but which they know very little. We can’t reasonably expect to receive as much excitement from their point as we have from ours.
  • They’ve had disappointments – And, they don’t want to see you disappointed. They want to ensure you consider all facets of your idea before you go any further.
  • They don’t like risk – This goes along with the disappointments they may have had. They dislike the insecurity of new undertakings. Risk carries a lot of potential; you see the tremendous upside of risk, they see the rock bottom of the downward potential.
  • They haven’t followed their own dreams – This is neither good nor bad. It is, however, unfortunate. For whatever reason, most likely the dull comfort of security, they have not sought what is, or was, in their heart.

Certainly, sometimes people just don’t want others to succeed, but it is rare. I’ve even railed against those people here. When that’s the case, that person has an issue in his/her own life. Every. Single. Time. Even then, there is something positive to be gained, both for us and for the other person. For us, it can be a clue that, whatever our big idea, we could be onto something. For the offending party, their negativity in the form of envy is a window into their heart and life. Once we see it, then we can begin to bolster that person’s confidence in themselves, or be a source of healing for what troubles them. It helps everyone.

Whatever the reason for the words we did not want to hear, there is something to be gained. The coin we consider as negative, has a flip-side that is always positive. “Am I qualified and, if not, how can I become so?” “Do I have the time and, if not, can I structure it so that I do?” “Others are doing this, so what can I do to set myself apart?”

Also, as with the rare person that is simply envious of the great idea you have, we can always learn something about the other person. Something that we can use to improve their lives and our own.

We were not created to merely exist.

We were created to excel.

We were created for greatness.

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