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Posted on 2007.12.06 at 12:19
I was reading this: http://thinksimplenow.com/happiness/the-5-myths-of-positive-mental-attitude/
and two things stood out.. First I really likes the quotes below...

'In "Man’s Search for Meaning", Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl talks about finding happiness and purpose while in a Nazi concentration camp. In his book, he argues that “we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose.“'

And also...

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space.
In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and freedom.“
- Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

That space is exactly "what I am talking about". That is the grain of individual humanity.
In a way, it's the only real control we have in the world, the rest is luck and illusion.

And second I disagree with the author of the article here:

"Have you ever heard a negative person say that they aren’t negative; they’re just being ‘realistic’? This myth keeps people locked in a negative reality of their own creation. A person’s thoughts, whether positive or negative, do have an effect on their environment. If you think negatively, your mind will automatically seek out confirmation that the world is a terrible place."

I just don't agree that being realistic is a cynical state of mind. I consider it much more healthy than being optimistic and I consider cynicism to be something very different from realism.

For example: If you are going to the DMV, or any place with a long waiting time..

The realistic mindset is that you will have to wait a long time.. Preparing yourself for the wait will help you distract yourself from the boredom of waiting, it's expected and accepted, and if something makes the wait longer, you knew that might happen anyway, no big deal.

The optimistic mindset is that you will not have to wait very long and that for whatever reason, something will speed it up. If something happens to make the wait longer, you brush it off and maintain that it won't take long.

The cynical mindset is that you are suffering the wait and if something makes you wait longer, you can barely stand it. Maybe you even think that there is something to be DONE to shorten the wait.. and you become agitated at people for being too slow.

So... in the realistic mindset, you are accepting the wait, not suffering it, and if your wait is short, you are pleasantly surprised. Good deal.

In the optimistic mindset, you are denying the wait, and the effort it takes to continually deny something is taxing, most people just can't keep that up all the time, in their life they may well crash down from their optimism and have bouts where they feel really negative and disheartened until they gain the energy to pull it all back together and re-build their optimistic front... That doesn't sound healthy to me, even without a crash.

Those with a cynical mindset seem to live under the false idea that there is an alternative to waiting. They allow themselves to get upset about things they have no power over. They want to blame something or someone and become increasingly upset when waiting.

Being realistic seems like the healthiest mindset. I find being realistic to be very comforting.

"God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference."

-- The Serenity Prayer --Author debated

Hell yeah!


border_autist at 2007-12-07 03:49 (UTC) (Link)
I agree. Unfortunately it is a lot easier to slip from realism to cynicism than it is to slip from realism to optimism.
"I am a memory of me."
athea at 2007-12-07 05:27 (UTC) (Link)
It seems that the optimist would be more likely to become the cynic.. due to life not meeting their expectations.

I think it all boils down to the "wisdom to know the difference" between what can and cannot be changed...

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