I wanted to do a throwback to the first year I attended a full week of festivities for my 2nd favorite week in Louisville; IdeaFestival. It’s a workout for your mind. In case you’re unfamiliar, their tag-line is “Stay Curious!” because IdeaFestival provides a space for people to share ideas because they have a desire to think differently.
There is one speaker that has influenced me to think about worst-case scenerios and the possible positive impact they can create.
I try to live in a space of positivity. But I realize life isn’t always the glittery vision I imagine it to be. There are moments of disruptive events that push us to the edge of what we’re willing to accept that form our limitations. One of my biggest challenges in my day-to-day routines is when I come into contact with negative self-talkers. Hearing someone rip themselves apart by saying anything bad about themselves makes me concerned. I don’t want anyone I come into contact with to feel bad about themselves even if it’s something I can’t control.
The words you say following “I am” can be one of the most powerful things you can do to condition your mentality for life.
Positive self-talk and cheering myself on through the hard moments of life has become one of a few of the behaviors that place me in a constant state of aspiration.
In 2013 I attended Oliver Burkeman’s presentation on “Open to Failure, Open to Success.” He spoke about the positive aspects that negative thinking can provide which will lead you to happiness.
It’s an interesting topic because it is the complete opposite action in comparison to the way I’ve trained my mind to think. However, if I remove myself from the emotional aspects of stress or anything that creates negative feelings, I can see how the “worst-case scenerio” mentality can be beneficial.
An example, I have Crohn’s Colitis. It’s not a high point of my life but it’s not going anywhere any time soon so I’ve had to adjust to it. It’s beneficial to remember that it could always be worse. I could be in an emergency situation where I have to have my colon removed. Or if I wanted to push my mind to a legit doom and gloom situation, I realize I could be dead. So it’s not worth it to get upset because I can’t change it and I have to remember that it could always be worse.
Here are four negative thinking tools that can help make you happier from IdeaFestival’s website:
1. Sometimes it’s helpful to focus on the worst case scenario. Focusing on the worst case scenario can be a good antidote to anxiety. This is called defensive pessimism.
2. Practice non-attachment. This will give you a sense of relation to your thoughts and help you be present.
3. Recognize that uncertainty can be a creative force. The quest for uncertainty blocks the search for meaning.
4. Don’t forget that you’re going to die. It gives you a gentle reminder that there is a finale to your life and not to waste it. The subliminal reminder of the thing we all share helps unloads our compassion.
Check out this video from IdeaFestival’s YouTube Channel: