What’s The Social Cost To Being Positive?

Sue Daugherty
Mar 23, 2010

I’ve always found it interesting that it seems so easy for people to be/become negative, but it takes effort to be/become positive. I wonder why that is?

Negativity is such a magnet. Just look at how the Jerry Springer Show attracted such ratings. They interview people in chaos and bring all of their dirty laundry to life. The same applies with the Hollywood tabloids. Even newspapers. The more disasterous the headline, the more people read the paper.

I don’t get it. Negativity feels bad, and it produces little or nothing useful. Yet, negativity attracts others to join in the misery. And they do! There is a customer-base for those who want be negative. These people enthusiastically exchange negative stories, share their negative opinions via gossip and cause all who participate to wallow in their self-manufactured negative feelings. The truly amazing part to all of this is the minimal amount of effort that has to be invested to spread negativity far and wide because it’s so easily contagious.

So why doesn’t that occur with being positive? To be positive takes a conscious effort to be/become positive in your thoughts, your speech/interaction and your behavior. The strange part is that being positive creates an aura of hope and possibility -- and that feels good. Positive people are fun to be around. Being positive causes people to feel motivated, innovative, productive. Simply put, it makes happier people and that makes good things happen. So can anyone tell me why positive people, positive dialogue and positive news stories don’t outnumber the negative?

With the new year fast approaching, and difficulty surrounding us, what would happen if Americans came together at the local level and made a commitment to not let negative thoughts take the driver’s seat in 2009?  Better yet, what if Americans made a commitment to replace negativity by concentrating their thought/prayers, feelings, language and behavior on being positive – and bringing others into the fold by modeling this behavior? I’ll tell you what would happen: It would mean that we would have to watch less TV, limit what we read and listen to, change the type of things that we talk about and the way we spend our time and talents.

Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a community willing to make such a commitment?

Comments

Anonymous

It is 100% positive that the citizens of Sandusky would see bright new streets if the 10% Entertainment & Admissions Tax replaced the City Income Tax and the increased funding was restricted to street rebuilding until every street in Sandusky is freshly paved.

Anonymous

I believe it was self-help author Martin Seligman who once said that as a species it’s possible that we may be genetically hard wired to be negative.

His thinking was that those of our early hominid ancestors who were fearful and careful tended to survive predators. Those who were positive and took risks became dinner.

Hence, the genes of the careful and fearful were passed on more so than the positive risk takers.

As a life game plan, I've tried to hope for the best, yet plan for the worst. So far, so good.

libertarian

The first question is positive or negative about what? If being positive equates to not giving voice to the wrongs and injustices around us in an attempt to bring about change, then being positive becomes a negative act. If being positive means not confronting those who bring about those wrongs and injustices with the evils of their acts, then being positive itself becomes an evil. If being positive means standing idly by while our natural rights are violated, then we are doomed to slavery and servitude.

In these cases, and others, being negative is a virtue, rather than a vice.

And another thing, being negative is not something that a community can be. Only individuals can be positive or negative and a community is nothing more than a group of people who happen to live the same area.

Anonymous

A COMMUN8ITY IS A GROUP OF PEOPLE WITH A COMMON CULTURE. An optimistic culture is possible to propagate. No one has tried to create such a community culture that I know of.

Anonymous

The Amushunkwa Indians say the squirrel that hordes his nuts will spend his time waiting for the dark cloud, while the squirrel who shares his nuts with all will be happy every day… IMO

Anonymous

I have recently moved here and now I am asking myself why. This town, this paper, these bloggers are all very strange. The main theme seems to be bitterness, not a cool positive vibe like back home in San Diego. If We work together we can all accomplish one positive goal and make life better for all mankind. Back in San Diego we raised over $3200 for a family who was put out of their home due to the recent banking crisis. We also were able to deal with the local utilities to arrange payments on the bills. If you live in a positive state of mind then you can accomplish anything.

Anonymous

Welcome to Sandusky Frank, we need more people in this town with a cool positive attitude like they have in San Diego. Did you move here because Sandusky is right behind San Diego on the best places to retire list? That’s cool if you did. I understand that San Diego has the largest Browns Backers club in the country, wouldn’t it be cool if you started a San Diego Chargers Backers club here? Peace.

Anonymous

A traveler approached the gates of a city. He met the gatekeeper and asked, 'Are the people in this city friendly?'

The gatekeeper replied, 'How were the people where you came from?'

The traveler said, 'They were mean, cruel and nasty and that's why I left.'

The Gatekeeper said, 'Well that's the way you'll find the people in this city.'

The traveler turned and went away.

Later, another traveler approached the gatekeeper and asked, ''Are the people in this city friendly?’

Once again, the gatekeeper asked, ‘How were the people where you came from?'

The second traveler replied, ‘They were kind, considerate and very pleasant.’

The gatekeeper responded, 'Well that's the way you'll find the people in this city.'

The traveler entered the city.

Anonymous

In place of measuring the strength to a county based solely on its economy through its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the Himalayan country of Bhutan has considered an index of Gross National Happiness (GNH).

Check it out:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gro...

Gulliver

I would like to answer the question Ms. Daugherty posed... "Wouldn't it be cool if there was a community willing to make such a comittment?

Answer: YES! IT WOULD BE VERY COOL!! All we need is a leader willing to take this challenge on. Someone who is a Dave Waddington type. Would your community have an public leader who would want to lead this movement of community optimism? (hhhhmmm.... I wonder?)

To do this would would take considerable effort & planning and constant leadership -- lots of leadership!! If someone would lead, I believe others would follow. As I see it, Obama's leadership style is one that is the epitome optimism.

Anonymous

Greetings everyone. Thank You for the kind words Brokeback Bill, very interesting thought but I really am not into football. I think community support of a common group is good, but I oppose the violence that football betrays. I think the idea of a GNH index is great. If the GNH is low we can rally together to bring the morale up. Getting the community involved boosts the morale of those who might night think of a community event can be fun and positive. Back in San Diego I was a member of the San Diego Spirit Squad, a group who took action cleaning up local parks and standing up for local animal rights. It was fun and had a positive impact on the community. Well I dont want to hog the blog so to speak so I will leave you with my Grandmother Ida's favorite saying, she was a neighborhood organizer in the San Diego area sewing blankets and baking pies for the less fortunate. "If we come together, together we become positive." Peace to all.

Anonymous

I just wanted to commend all the wonderfully positive feelings in this blog. I was a member of the 1986 company of Up with People that toured Japan for Coke. It is such a great buzz to be around so much happiness and joy. Everyone feeds off of it so way to go people. Even on this same website you can see what anger, resentment and pettiness can do to people, just read about the Marina District vs. CRG articles. What anger is filling that scene. Those people should read this blog for inspiration, yes, I would like to teach the world to sing! Peace and love to all over the holidays!

Anonymous

If I can contain myself from puking long enough from all this sappiness I will comment on the subject at hand. Welcome to town Mr. Del Reto, I want to start with saying this, get freakin real! Wake up and smell the coffee life is not a Candy Land game there are real problems and obstacles to overcome. We must first take care of ourselves in life and worry about lazy welfare, food stamp, handout wanting losers second. People may perceive me as negative but in all reality I just speak the truth. I dont just come on here like Jeff Crapbill kissing up to Sue or rambling on about nothing like Nick Whites blogs. I call out the Register, I challenge them to give me Art Vandalay my own blog. I will be honest, factual and to the point. I will actually bring realism to this blog not sappy crappy I love you, you love me sugary rabble. Some people may not like my honesty and integrity and may disagree like Rick Studer who couldnt even pen the description on a shoe box or Nick White who couldnt even write directions on how to boil water but oh well only the strong survive.

Anonymous

When I lived in Chicago, I once worked for a company that had a branch office in San Diego.

While riding in an elevator with a couple of the partners, I overheard one of the gentlemen who lived in San Diego comment to the other who was a Chicago resident about Chicago’s often frigid and in climate weather.

The Chicago partner said, ‘Yes. We like it that way; it helps to keep the ‘undesirables’ out.’

Housing is extremely expensive in San Diego and has more than its share of those ‘undesirables.’

There are always trade-offs aren't there? Enjoy the winter weather. Welcome to Sandusky.

Reads like you're volunteering as a local community organizer. You’ve got my vote for the position.

Anonymous

Iificould techone thingoff thispage I t would be artv………….. hes and idiot he sholdhave his but kiked

cm.sandusky

Yes, it takes effort to be positive. Why, I don't know for sure.
This effort to be positive has a very big pay-off.
Most of the time, it's your mind that stresses you out.
One moment you might be worrying about the future,(and you're lost in a reverie filled with hope and fear) the next you might be obsessed with the past.(and you're overcome with regret and self-recrimionation).
You are not your thoughts or feelings. If you keep an open mind, surround yourself with positive thinking...(it might be difficult at first) you start thinking about postive things more and more...
You can train your mind to be more positive..
Positive thinking doesn't mean you can't disagree with something...
Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it.

Gulliver

CM, Jeff, Frank Del Rio, Brokeback Bill... It looks like the something good may be brewing!!!! :)-- Sue

PS -- "Never doubt that a group of THOUGHTFUL, COMMITTED citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. (a quote from Margaret Mead.)

BLACKJACK

Imnot belivin u cutmeandleft artvin
Heisveryngativ with vrything hesay s

Anonymous

Sue give up on these dirty nasty old people. Just shut up with your simpering candy coated nonsense.

Anonymous

Excellent post, Sue! This is exactly what the world needs more of. I agree that it would be wonderful for a community group to meet with this intention.

Anonymous

Hi everyone, thank you Sue and Frank for the nice thoughts. This week’s blog has had a wonderfully cool vibe about it. Maybe Frank woke us all up with his first post, I don’t know, but it happened. So thanks again Frank.

I think we could all agree the an altruistic attitude is what is required to benefit our fellow man and in the long run even benefit ourselves. Not everyone can go out and be a community activist. Some have time constraints, others have lack of resources or the knowledge to take this on or perhaps some are just not capable of doing something of this magnitude. What I would like to do is challenge everyone to try and make a difference in one person’s life, just one of the fellow human beings that cross your path everyday. Maybe buy them a meal, give them a ride, give them old pair of gloves, something that might make a difference in their life for the better. Just think if everyone did one little thing for someone. Give it a try.

Some of you long time readers might have made a connection with the poster known as BLACKJACK and myself. I’ve know him for a long time. I’ve taken it upon myself to get him help with his anger issues. Recently we got some medication and I think it is helping a little. We’ve even talked of him getting his GED so maybe the next year holds some good things for him. I suggest all of you find your own BLACKJACK to help. It feels pretty good. Peace.

Anonymous

Wow I'm so excited it seems like we have all banded together great job everybody. It reminds me of back in San Diego when me and the neighbors helped out one Christmas at the local homeless shelter serving food for the less fortunate. We banded to help who needed it and it brought a little moment of hope and a glimmer of joy to those folks. I am seeing a brighter more positive attitude and its great. Great job Sue, Bill and all those who have helped make this a better place for you, me, my 2 children and the community in general. Peace to all and remember "If we come together, together we become positive."

goofus

Great here comes the vw microbus, flowers,tie dyed, leisure suits,bellbottompants crowd again. Peace and love from Haight Ashbury

Anonymous

For yrs., I’ve known someone who has often been called a ‘Pollyanna.’

In a popular context, the term is usually used to describe someone exhibiting naïve optimism.

Though I knew this person as someone with an often-positive outlook, I did not see this person as someone with an excessively optimistic personality.

So, being the incorrigible student that I am, I bought and read a copy of the book, ‘Pollyanna.’

In a nutshell:

The character practiced what she called, ‘The Glad Game.’ Even in the worst of situations, if one searches hard enough, one will find something to be glad about.

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pol...

If you don’t care or have time to read the book, the Walt Disney movie follows the story line well.

And yes, this person is a ‘Pollyanna,’ in the ‘true’ sense.

Anonymous

Also, if you haven’t seen the movie, ‘Bridge to Tarabitha.’ Rent it and watch it.

The previews presented it as a kind of ‘Chronicles of Narnia’ knock-off. It is not.

It’s a ‘sweet’ coming of age movie that gushes positivism.

---------

The way I see it, the problem with positivism is like a lot of change that we desire.

We tend to want the world to change, but we don’t want to make the effort to change ourselves. Therein I believe lays the meat of the issue.

IMO, change like motivation comes from within oneself.

As some humorist once said:

The meek will inherit the Earth after the aggressive people have killed each other off.

‘Road House’ was on TNT yesterday. I love that movie and have seen it dozens of times. Pardon me; I gotta go practice my kickboxing...

Gulliver

HERE'S MY QUESTION: If there are people out there who like this idea of creating a positive community...What's doable? In other words, what do you think it would it take for a local community to begin a movement that would result in a community culture of optimism?

What do you think the "first step" should be to initiate this process? And how many people would it take to complete the "first step"?

Anonymous

Greetings everyone. To answer your question Gulliver it just takes one person with a positive mind and determination to inspire a whole group. Back in San Diego my wife and I helped an elderly lady that wanted to do something about her decaying neighborhood. We helped her paint, fix up the outside of her home and landscape. She was pleased with the result when slowly other neighbors took her example and fixed up their property. Within a year the neighborhood had transformed into a beautiful place to live and be proud of. The residents celebrated by throwing a street fair to show off the new face of the community. While at the celebration I saw the elderly lady that had started it all, she was standing there with tears in her eyes. I asked her what was wrong, and she replied nothing that she was crying because she thought she would never see her neighborhood return to its former glory and she wished her late husband was still here to see it. We shared a hug and I started to cry as I realized how much this determined lady had accomplished with a positive attitude and a little bit of faith in her fellow residents. I hope this gives a little insight on what you can accomplish when you put a positive mind to it. Remember "If we come together, together we become positive."

Rick Studer

Being that we are all Americans it is our manifest destiny to arrive at the same conclusion together. Whether you choose to travel with a smile or a frown (or in ignorance as Jeff would) it makes no difference, our final location is predetermined.

Anonymous

Ok I have had it. This blog has been invaded by hippies and unrealistic freaks. These flower power positive pot heads have taken over a serious blog. This blog is for serious honest discusion not some twisted smoked up non realistic pot views. You know Frank you say back in San Diego, you know what Frank i wish you were back in San Diego. Your blogs are so sappy and sugary its digusting. Your fruity talk makes you sound like you are from San Francisco not San Diego. Oh wait Brokeback Bill and Crackjack seem to have taken a shine to you, so maybe its true you live that freak ammoral lifestyle. Get your fruity self into reality, life isnt a bed of roses. Jeff Crapbill may i ask what you are rambling on about? Do you just blog comment to say oh Im special I can blog on one of the worst blogs in media history. Speaking of blogs, still no answer to my request for my own blog. Perhaps they fear Art Vandalay will actually cover the real topics and speak the real truth not report on duck derbys or making the headline about stupid bike shows. Oh I forgot one thing Del Reto get bent. Del Reto I am positve about one thing, Im positive my foot is going to meet your sugary rear. Get realistic.

Anonymous

oooooooh yummy master studer is back. master studer i missed you, may i take you to dinner and a dungeoun nite at cleveland leather next saturday nite?

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