In his book, Learned Optimism, Martin Seligman advises readers to minimize negative thoughts rather than trying to increase the number of positive thoughts.
This gave me the idea to make a list of the negative ideas that are floating around my head.
Negative ideas are slippery little devils. They often masquerade as neutral or realistic ideas rather than the overtly negative forces they truly are:
1) I’m getting too old to accomplish very much.2) I’ve wasted some precious opportunities (ones I could not afford to waste).3) I rely too much (in the professional realm) on other people doing things or failing to do them.4) One (or more) of my current projects seems destined to cost me rather than make money.
One of my old pals, Little Stevie, used to quote an old timer he knew: “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?”
I always liked that quote. The truth is that I’ve never (as an adult) felt limited by my age. Oh sure, I imagine that my age could possibly get in the way if I ever had to look for a new job, but it wouldn’t be a brick wall. Obviously, this too old feeling is pretty standard stuff. In the end, the reality of aging is what it is.Thinking about it is a genuine waste of time and energy.
Bemoaning a missed opportunity is standard issue what if stuff. Whether the opportunities were truly missed or whether another equally valid and possibly rewarding course was chosen is purely academic. The past is past.
Reliance on others is a hard one. It can true and also hard to change. I do rely on the judgments of others when it comes to my profession. Someone else pulls most of the strings. That reality flows from decisions made long ago. Still, no one attains true autonomy even though everyone says they want it.
Projects cost time and money. Even if they don’t cost actual money, time is simply money in another form. I have a friend who is terrified of trying something new (when it comes to business, especially) because he’s afraid his efforts are likely to come to nothing. Even before I cataloged my daily negativism I used his monumental resistance as motivation not to give in to his self defeatist example. In the end, I fear standing still even more than slipping backward so all of my projects are all systems go.
Most books never get published.
Most businesses fail.
But, the only certainty is that which comes from an effort never made.