Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

The positive power of negativity

Some time ago, I noticed a Dutch article on a 2019 book by psychologist Roy Baumeister and journalist John Tierney: The Power of Bad: How the Negativity Effect Rules Us and How We Can Rule It (publisher). The book is recommended by psychologist Martin Seligman, a guru on positive psychology (eg, my 2015 blog).

In 2014, I started writing for my blog. Those short notes were in Dutch and showed an angry man. After several months of writing, I lost my anger and stopped writing for some months. The writing therapy, as suggested by my then-girlfriend, had indeed helped me. However, writing is like a drug: you need more.

Late 2014, I decided to change my entire approach. I started writing positive articles because negativity has a habit of drowning you. I could not let that happen given my 2013 burnout and subsequent depression. In and of itself, this is an example of my blog’s title: the positive power of negativity.

My conscious decision to change course had a simple reason: I am a proud survivor and not a pitiful victim. People in a victim role will surround themselves with negativity in order to fuel their anger. Unfortunately, the positive power of negativity is lost on them.

Negative events in my life tend to make me sad as well. Nevertheless, after each negative (eg, dating) event, I wonder what I can learn from it. There must always be a lessons learned (eg, my 2015 blog). I refuse to accept the opposite (eg, chance, fait accompli, randomness). Most of the times, adversity makes me stronger.

In general, each process has three (3) possible outcomes: negative, neutral and positive. Latter two will not learn you anything as either you did not even notice that outcome, or you already expected that outcome. Only negative events may learn you something new in life. Hence, the importance of lessons learned.

A negative mindset will prevent you from learning. This is probably the reason why negative people “attract” negativity and end up in similar (negative) situations over and over again.

There are many quotes that adversity makes you stronger. These quotes are another example of the the positive power of negativity. The most relevant quote is about the survivor versus victim role:

“It is your reaction to adversity, not the adversity itself, that determines how your life’s story will develop.” A quote by Dieter F. Uchtdorf (b. 1940), a German aviator.

Positivity (2019) by Steffen Morrison
artist, lyrics, video, Wiki

See every set back
Sets You UP
For Silver Linings
Whenever you lose hope
Get up & Keep on fighting for

Note: all markings (bold, italic, underlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.


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