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bucko's avatar

Do bad things happen to positive people?

Asked by bucko (648 points ) December 26th, 2012

What really is the benefit of always being positive?

I see it as a loophole or easy way out on most occasions.

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16 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

Bad things happen to anyone, anytime, for any reason. The person’s attitude has nothing to do with whether bad things will happen – by definition, the bad things are external, and not under the control of the person.

There are other benefits to being positive—lower blood pressure, relaxed muscles, fewer headaches – but being positive does not grant immunity from the occurrence of bad things.

zenvelo's avatar

@bucko A loophole or easy way out of what? That’s kind of an off hand statement. Are you a negative person? What good does that do you? That way you can always walk around saying how bad things are, even if they aren’t that bad. That kind of atmosphere is not at all enjoyable.

I am not a positive person, but I am not negative either. I can be a s cynical as the next guy, especially about work, but I try to stay up beat in my dealings with others, especially those I know well. It makes life more pleasant.

Mariah's avatar

Of course. Many bad things happen randomly and it doesn’t matter at all whether you’re an optimist or a pessimist.

The advantage to being an optimist is not in preventing bad things from happening, but in dealing with bad things. For one, you probably perceive fewer things as bad because you don’t fixate on the negative in any given situation. For another, you have better coping skills and those bad things don’t hit you as hard when they do inevitably happen.

Bad things happen, but they don’t have to destroy you.

CWOTUS's avatar

As Shakespeare had Hamlet say, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

So that’s the first objection that I have to what you wrote. “Good” or “bad” are attributes that you can assign depending on how you think.

After that, even if bad things do happen to positive people, they can make the best of it.

“It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.” I wish I could recall who said that, because it’s pretty apt. For a literal example, hurricanes, though they do widespread damage, also bring much-needed rain to some places.

Finally, consider the story of the twin brothers, one an eternal pessimist and the other a perfect optimist. Their parents gave them different Christmas presents: To the pessimist they gave a beautiful Arabian horse. The optimist received a stall in a barn filled with horse shit.

When the boys awoke on Christmas morning, they had different reactions to their gifts. The pessimist was thinking of how much he’d have to work to take care of his beautiful horse, all the training and exercise and feeding he’d have to do, and the vet bills he’d have to pay in the future. He was not at all pleased with his gift.

The other boy, though, was excited as he cheerfully started mucking out his stable, grinning from ear to ear and whistling as he shoveled all the shit out of the barn. “With all this shit, there’s got to be a pony in here!” he said as he went back to work.

Coloma's avatar

Of course they do, but…keeping a good attitude is always helpful. Not always easy, but in ones own best interest. The more you think about and talk about your problems the more you feed the negative loop that just keeps recycling its “poor me” story. Bottom line, unless your very survival is at stake everything else is small stuff. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

I have a friend that I keep at a distance because she is a chronic complainer, the stuff this women gets upset about is a joke.
Last week it was ” OMG! Her boyfriend had the Christmas week off and just HOW was she ever, going to be able to clean her house and wrap gifts with him hanging around all week!!!
Seriously? You’ve got to be kidding me, you call THAT a problem! lol

bucko's avatar

@zenvelo for most people positivity is a reaction more often than an actual action. I suck it up and deal with whatever problems I have.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I’m a naturally positive person, and I have my fair share of heartbreak and troubles.

Benefits of being positive are that people like being around you more, which increases likelihood of good jobs, which means good money, which means less stress, etc… Need I go on?

marinelife's avatar

Of course they do. Bad things happen to all people. But as Viktor Frankl said, “Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” That is why you should be positive.

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wundayatta's avatar

As @CWOTUS said, good and bad are judgments we make. There is nothing objective about them. It’s just your opinion.

A positive person might put a positive spin on all events. A negative person might put a negative spin on all events.

You have to ask yourself, what is the benefit of labeling things good and bad? Usually, it allows us to address problems. Things we like don’t need to change. Things we don’t like probably need change.

Sure thing happen and everyone could call some of them negative. Bad things happen to positive people, but they may not choose to identify them as such. Eventually, though, you may want to change someone, and you might choose to say it was negative.

Things happen to all of us as long as we are alive. How we label those things is up to us. A positive person will label fewer things “bad,” but there will be some things.

blueiiznh's avatar

Being positive is about how you are and how you act.
It has nothing to do with what happens to you.

Example:
A car accident or plane crash does not differentiate based on positive or negative attitude.

Shippy's avatar

I don’t believe being positive changes much. But I do believe how you see the problem changes a lot.

JLeslie's avatar

Sure bad things happen to positive people. However, I do think positive people probably would say fewer bad things happen to them on average, because their perspective probably minimizes bad events, while negative people probably ruminate more and feel the bad thing in a more negative way. So, it isn’t necessarily positive people literaly have fewer bad events happen, but their perspective is fewer bad things happen. What you focus on becomes our world your life.

There was an unscientific study I once read about where people stated whether they were lucky of unlucky. The set these people up to walk by money on the street. The lucky people found the money much much more often then the self prograclaimed unlucky people. The lucky people seemed to be more aware of their surrounds, head up, expected good things. Their attitude seemed to affect how they saw their world and themselves.

jonsblond's avatar

What really is the benefit of always being positive?

Your own happiness is a benefit. You are the only person who can make yourself happy. Positivity breeds happiness. Negativity breeds hostility. Do you want to be happy or do you want to be a Debbie Downer? It seems to me that negative people like to find excuses for their unhappiness, when all they really need to do is look in the mirror.

bob_'s avatar

As my high school physics teacher used to say, nobody said life was supposed to be fair.

jca's avatar

Also, as a parent, as many of us are, we don’t want to promote negativity, we want to show children a positive, “can-do” attitude. We try to encourage our chidlren (i.e. “You’re so smart!”) so they strive to do better and feel good about themselves and their accomplishments.

Paradox25's avatar

I don’t agree with this New Age Law of Attraction nonsense which states that how you think is what you attract in your life. Positive thinking is a benefit because realistically; who wants to be perpetually miserable? Positive thinking can only help you, but a touch of realism is healthy too.

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