I’m just reading an ebook titled How to stop being your own worst enemy, and there’s a chapter on being right. If you know a pessimistic person, someone who has a very negative outlook on life, did you ever notice that they’re often very sure about things?
I ask you this question because it’s something I noticed, and when I read it a little lightbulb went on in my head.
Negative people have an high emotional attachment to being right. They can get very defensive about their ideas when their opinions get challenged.
Mark Tyrell, the author of the book said it this way:
for negative thinking to get a hold, you have to keep this basic assumption [that you are right] very firmly in place. The best way to do this is to never question it. This allows it to slip into the unconscious, so that you don’t even notice that you’re making assumptions.
It’s kind of like the “fish in the water” story. A fish that’s always surrounded by water doesn’t even know what water is, because he never experienced what it’s like to not be completely surrounded by water. And for pessimists, their negative thoughts are like their natural mental environment. They don’t even notice it.
There’s a very simple exercise in the book, that essentiall goes like this:
Next time you “catch” yourself thinking something negative, ask yourself the following question:
How sure are you about this? 15% sure? 80% sure? 5% sure?
All you’re really doing here is just asking, inquiring. This is very non-threatening, yet, it opens the door to the next step in the process of overcoming negativity.
If you want to become more optimistic and develop a more sunny outlook on life, I really recommend you read How to stop being your own worst enemy. Oh, and did I mention that it’s completely free? (You don’t even have to give them their email address, just download the PDF to your computer).