As mentioned in an earlier post, and in certain videos, I want to elaborate a bit more on the topic:
“Be pro-stuff, not just anti-stuff. – Define yourself by what you love.”
There are things you like and things you dislike, that’s just the way it is. You probably have no idea why you like or dislike certain things, but it’s just a feeling. Or perhaps someone told you about it and they pretty much formed their opinion for you. This is common, yet again, it is what you do with this that truly matters. Thinking more positively makes you feel more positive, so try and emphasize your feelings towards the positive aspects of an experience, object or person.
I started realising I did this myself; I remember coming back from my aunts’ place, who live a two hour drive away, and when asked by my peers how my weekend was I would first complain about the traffic, second about how crappy the weather was. Not only is it a negative reflection on an otherwise perfect weekend, it is simply not the best way to share a story.
Just pay attention to the amount of people around you who instantly bring up something negative when talking about a seemingly positive experience. A weekend holiday trip should have been great, yet all you hear is complaints about all sorts of things. I remember having a friend round for coffee, and she was talking about her dogs. Someone else walked in and had only heard the part where she talks about her rottweiler. Instantly he commented with the fact that he hates that breed, cutting down her enthusiasm in an instant. A negative contribution that had no merit at all.
So personally, when people ask you what you like or your general opinion about something, try not to start with what you dislike about it, or shut the conversation down with blatantly saying that you hate it. If you are really excited about something and ask your friend what he/she thinks about it, you wouldn’t like it if they said they hate it. If not properly addressed, the rest of the conversation and mindset of its participants, is influenced negatively. Getting an open reaction such as “Ah cool, it’s not really my thing though.” is practically the same thing, yet you’ve given your opinion and also encouraged their enthusiasm. Also, if your negative opinion of something (which is not necessarily a bad thing) has no benefit to the conversation, is there a need to mention it?
You can try this with the people around you as well, and you’ll find you’re giving them more reasons to like something, and see you as someone who appreciates the good things. If they are being really negative about something you regard as good, mention the bright points. “(Sure the money isn’t all that good), but you get to work outside and enjoy the summer’s day, it’s better than sitting at home.” Just a short example, but sentences like these work surprisingly well to turn someone’s thoughts into something more positive. Like I mentioned, it also gives that person the (correct) idea that you have a positive mindset, and they’ll often share this to you as well.
Therefore; the title: ‘Be pro stuff (not just anti stuff).’ Again it is something Tim Minchin said in his speech, so you can see this as a sort of analysis of his short story. Not just experiences fit this analysis, also the larger part of life. “Define yourself by what you love.” For instance if someone asks you what kind of movies or drinks you like, start with the ones you do like, and you’ll find there’s no reason to mention the ones you do not like. This will shape you in the mind of your peers but more importantly, yourself. You’ll automatically start thinking more positive as a result.