I have to admit, I wasn’t always as positive and upbeat as I am now. I used to see the glass as half empty most, if not all, the time. What changed was that when I reached an all time low back in 2009 I had no choice but to accept that my pessimistic outlook was contributing to my depression and was very destructive for me. Although not everyone who is pessimistic becomes depressed, having a negative bias never enhances our life – in fact, quite the opposite!
Activities such as reading or watching the news, gossiping or even suspecting the worst outcome in situations leads us to have a cloudy outlook even though our life conditions may be perfectly sunny. Negativity can become such an ingrained habit that even when things are going well for us we treat the positive developments in our lives with suspicion and distrust, looking instead for what could go wrong.
The danger is that the more innately negative we are, the more likely we are setting ourselves up for negative outcomes. For example, if I wanted to start my own business and had a negative outlook, I might work really hard still but I would more than likely predict that the venture was unlikely to succeed, leading me to be less inclined to persevere and more inclined to give up sooner than say, an optimist would. It becomes a sort of self-fulfilling prophesy, a tragic playing out of our own created expectations. But can we ever really change from a negative to a positive bias? Ab-sol-utely!