“Positivity” “Happiness” “Optimism” – Some words that are synonymous in the
dictionary, some synonymous in common parlance. Somehow in today’s world
there is a relative scarcity of optimism. Why relative, you ask?
We live in times when we have everything at the tip of our fingers. Entertainment when we want it, food delivered to our doorsteps, education such that we can access it in the comforts of our beds owing to online classes. Why then is the quest for the mantra to positivity a bigger issue now than
With businesses profiting out of the misery of others: advertisements for ‘fairness’ agents, beverages to make you feel insecure about your child’s characteristics, you take your pick; can we really blame ourselves for losing the inherent positivity radar built in us? Naturally, we are conditioned by the modern world to feel negative about ourselves and all our shortcomings. We are puppets of the abundance of everything resulting in scarcity of optimism.
Motivation is something we often look up on the internet. Several YouTube video searches later, we somehow end up with a botched up amalgamation of what we consider as the final piece to the jigsaw that is a positive life. Is there
really a secret to positivity? Over the years which included about 5 in medical school I, like anybody else, have faced numerous situations where positivity was nowhere to be seen.
In all those moments, my brain would somehow reroute to a conversation I had with an old friend of mine. She had shown me a couple of images, that made me rethink my perspective of life. One such image was
This is an image taken from the days of World war II. It shows a joyous Austrian little boy delighted with his new pair of shoes. Why don’t we smile as much when we buy a new pair of shoes?
“Perspective” The moment we change our perspective about a lot of things, it somehow
becomes easier to focus on what seems to be the problem with finding positivity. Yes, we have all got our own problems; including the ones who have achieved great milestones in their lives. Think of Professor Steven Hawking. At
the young age of 21, just as he was setting foot into the scientific world, he was diagnosed with ALS, a life-threatening disease. Initially he was so dejected that he didn’t really want to do anything with his life. But later he changed his
perspective. He realised that he could spend the last few days of his life sulking, or he could try and do his best to achieve what he set out to achieve.
I am a die-hard fan of Harry Potter. Many of the lessons I have learned in my life were derived from these books. The character of Hagrid is probably one of the most positive characters I’ve ever come across. Hagrid was a half giant. Giants were prone to a lot of discrimination in the wizarding world and yet, Hagrid never let him deter him from his path. He was wrongfully terminated from school because of certain false allegations but he still managed to remain loyal to the school and the headmaster. What was the secret of his positivity? I believe that it isn’t possible to find a positive individual who doesn’t have gratitude. When we are thankful for all the great things that are happening in our life, we would never have the time to think about anything that goes wrong. Now one might argue that sometimes there simply isn’t anything left to
be grateful for. But shouldn’t that just motivate you to do something that you would be grateful for? Like I said, it is all about the perspective.
Another thing that almost all of us are guilty of, is being unkind. And I am not just talking about the harsh words we use on others, but even the little mental monologues we have every single day. And honestly, the words of discouragement that we mumble to ourselves are much worse than what we say out loud to others. The Buddha once said ‘What we think, we become.” The more we think we are useless, the more you tend to strengthen the loop of negativity in your head. Then, no matter what anybody does, you will never
be able to save yourself.
We often tend to live more in the past and the future than in the present. As a kid, I often spent my summer holidays in camps that were meant to inculcate values in us and teach us various activities. One such value was “shut the past and cut the future.” The moment we start living in the present, we will be happier with what we have.
We are a miniscule part of a tiny planet that exists somewhere in space. Somehow, we ended up on the right planet at the right time. We started our
lives winning a race in our mother’s uterus, we are just one of the hundreds of permutations that could have occurred from the mixture of our parents’ genes.
So, should we really be sulking? What do you sprinkle to the world ? Where is your flow of positivity, optimism, motivation ?