Granted, some people argue that negative thought can smoke out the problems, prevent illusionary thinking, and generally give a more realistic view of the world.
However, negative energy and negative thinking do me no good.
Faith, belief, inspiration, and hope all lead to better outcomes than thinking a thing can’t be done. My mental playlist is full of tunes like:
“I should’ve done this other thing rather than what I did.”
“I’m not good enough at this skill, so why bother?”
“I’m running out of time.”
“I’m a mediocre artist at best.”
“Anything I can produce, the better version of it’s already out there.”
“I missed my chance.”
“No one’s going to look at my work anyway.”
“If it’s not going to be great work, what’s the point?”
What I know is that none of those thoughts lead to sustained focus, sacrificial discipline, clarity of thought, or productive work. If those tunes are my music, I know there will be little or no dancing.
Sure, I can muster evidence that the negative voices are right. I’ve got a drawer full of work that I can label either failure or setback. Truth is, the past is past, and now is stuffed with opportunity. I have never been as prepared to meet the challenges of this day as I am now, and frankly, it’s largely because of the lessons learned from the setbacks.
Realistic analysis? Sure, but for me, it has to be combined with a positive orientation toward problem-solving, innovation, and creativity.
You know what else I know? I have a natural tendency (and perhaps we all do) toward negative thinking, negative behavior, and negative assessment. And while I study positive psychology and firmly line up behind its primary claims in regards to well-being, I still think negative thoughts, and my inner voices can sometimes be torturous.
And yes, I still get depressed (though it’s getting more rare). And because of its familiarity, there are times when depression is even comfortable. Perhaps I’m so clear on this because I’ve got so much experience with it. Here’s what I know:
Negative energy does me no good.