Negative thoughts beget negative attitudes and positive thoughts beget positive attitudes. This is a simple proposition everyone should agree with. It’s very simplistic and most of the times it’s taken out of context with positive thinking junkies. Instead of taking out of context, let’s build on it and see if we can reach a wider understanding of optimism. In doing so, hopefully we can reevaluate certain attitudes when concerning causality.
When we initially learn about optimism, we are given the example of the half-filled or half-empty cup of water. We learn that there are two ways in which we can describe this scenario. The choice here will often dictate if we are optimists or pessimists. In turn, it will dictate if we view the scenario in a negative light or a positive light. This is all accurate, but when someone learns about optimism this way they may keep a narrow view of the concept.
Optimism and pessimism aren’t only for objects. Here is standard definition for optimism: “Hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something.” As we see here, optimism is associated with our views of the future. Do we hope for the best? Or do we immediately see the obstacles?
Let’s expand optimism to more concepts. How about causality? When we are imagining the cause of certain outcomes there are those who may attribute the outcome to negative causes. An example are the wacky conspiracy theorists who attribute a lot of complexity and malice towards certain outcomes they see in the world. On the other hand, imagine thinking about the most powerful people of the world and attributing their actions to love, family, and loyalty instead of deceit, greed, hate and selfishness.
Finally, think about the small things that cause extreme frustration in our daily lives. Think about the small ways people may wrong us. Maybe we are cut-off during our morning commute, someone takes our lunch from the communal refrigerator, or anything where our response is, “why would someone do that?” There are two ways we can imagine the cause of those actions. We can think these things happened because the other person is just a jerk or evil person who is very selfish. Or we can think that something horrible happened in their lives that made them lose focus at that moment. We all have done “jerk” things, but for us it’s always unintentional right?
Let us reevaluate our beliefs and attitudes during these situations because in the end we are all human and no one is perfect. We will all do things that may piss off someone. Remember negative thoughts beget negative attitudes and positive thoughts beget positive attitudes.