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Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Are you a positive thinker regardless or because of the circumstances?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (31274points) January 24th, 2011

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.

Do you train yourself to think positively in all circumstances? Do you relish the challenge that adversity brings?

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22 Answers

janbb's avatar

Wish I could be but goddammit, I’m unfortunately not built that way.

tinyfaery's avatar

Nope. I am definitely a pessimist.

WasCy's avatar

As a lifelong sailor and an ‘80% of life’-long Red Sox fan you pretty much have to be a positive thinker.

Seriously, you can choose to think positively or negatively. Thinking positively leads to solutions and a better life.

I’m very thankful to a business seminar that I attended back in the 1980s that taught us about asking “affirmative questions”. In other words, “How can I make this situation better?” instead of “Why is this situation so effed-up?” Thinking one way leads to new ideas and improvements, and thinking the other way ends you up drunk in a bar railing about all the things that are wrong with the world, out of money and no closer to resolution.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I don’t relish the chance adversity brings, but I like to think I handle it with as much grace as I can. I’m often told that I don’t take things seriously enough, but I figure if it doesn’t turn out too bad, that’s a good thing. When things do go to hell, well, I just do the best I can.

zenvelo's avatar

I am an optimist with low expectations. I am rarely disappointed.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I try to always think positively about whatever is thrown at me. It doesn’t always work, but I always try.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I certainly am.
I don’t mind a challenge.;)

KhiaKarma's avatar

I try to remember: “things are neither good nor bad, but thinking makes them so

Overall I am pretty positive, but I can get into negative ruts.

YARNLADY's avatar

I have discovered that it does no good at all to have negative thoughts. when I hear or see something that could make me mad, I just try to think about something else.

Example: My son married the daughter-in-law from Hell. She refuses to lift a finger to help around the house, and is a complete slob. Their house is like a pig pen. Instead of letting myself get upset, I just don’t go to their house. They come over here every weekend, leave the boys from Friday night through Sunday afternoon, and have Sunday dinner with us. I love having the boys, and I secretly look forward to the day I will have them permanently.

lillycoyote's avatar

I’m never sure what people mean by this being positive all the time stuff. I am a relatively positive person but sometimes negativity is just telling or acknowledging the truth about negative circumstance.

If there’s a hole in your lifeboat just sitting around thinking positive thoughts about it is useless and stupid. And is someone supposed to say “I don’t mean to be negative… but I think there might be, maybe, just a little hole in the life boat, sorry to be such a whiner… oh, never mind, anyone want a muffin!!?” No, you say “There’s a hole in boat” but you don’t whine and bemoan and just focus on the negative either, that would be useless and stupid too. You do your best, everything you can to fix the hole and then hope for the best. I think being positive all the time, in the face of how hard and complex and painful life can be is kind of irrational if you ask me, and it trivializes live, it trivializes how hard people sometimes have to work to get through and past adversity and heartache. If someone’s 7 year old suffers and dies from leukemia do the parents have to put a positive spin on that or do they get to grieve and be angry at the universe for a while, if that’s what gets them through the night at first?

When the going gets tough, I have been at least tough enough, nothing’s put down for the count yet; when life gives me lemons I make lemonade, but when life drops a 500 hundred pound sack of shit on me, well, as @JilltheTooth said, I try to get through it with as much grace and dignity and hopefullness as I can, but I’m not Mother Teresa, I’ve railed at the universe more that a few times in my life. But I always get back up, dust myself off and start all over again, ever hopeful.

WasCy's avatar


There’s a lot of truth and utility in realizing, “Holy shit! The boat has a hole in it!”, but ‘positive thinking’ is what you do after that:

“Whose fault is this, anyway?” “Why did we hit those rocks?” “The charts are all wrong!” “Damn, I hope the insurance is paid.” and of course: “We’re all going to die!”


“What do we have to fix that with?” “Can the pumps keep up?” “I think we can stuff something into the hole that’ll slow down the leak, @lillycoyote can I borrow your shirt?” etc.

Positive thinking is what you do after you find a problem… or what you do to avoid problems in the first place.

lillycoyote's avatar

@lillycoyote Well, I believe that’s what I said, I think that’s what said, at least somewhere in my little rant I think I said something like that. :-) Though I believe there is also a lot of utility in trying to figure out how the hole got in there in the first place so it doesn’t happen again. That’s effort is not always or necessarily “looking for someone to blame,” that’s just making an effort to find the cause and see if it can be prevented from happening again.

faye's avatar

I usually try to be calm and say is there any good here? and how really bad is it? and then if it is awful, I grieve, or fume, yell at city hall sometimes. And then get on with it, the living, I mean.

WasCy's avatar


I agree absolutely that we should prevent the boat from being holed (or the next boat, after this one sinks), but not while the boat we have is sinking. After the rescue or repair, then the positive thinking is, “How can we prevent that from happening again?” (And the negative thought is, “Why bother? It’s just going to happen again anyway. Who are we to think otherwise?”)

lillycoyote's avatar

@WasCy I was so ready to say I would want you in my lifeboat any day until your parenthetical comment. If any of your decisions about what to do in our current lifeboat, the only one we have, are going to be colored by some back of your mind notion that there is some next boat if this one sinks, well, you had me until there. That is way too positive thinking for me. We have the lifeboat we have. I’m sure as hell not basing my decisions on there being “next boat” if this one sinks. If that’s negative thinking then I am guilty of negative thinking. Oh, well, why bother, there could be another boat floating around here somewhere, of course there could be, it’s a big ocean full of mystery and bounty. Want a muffin? Don’t worry. be happy. There’s a hole-free boat right around the corner and we can start fresh! Wee!

Arbornaut's avatar

Boats eh? Seems to make sense. I like boats…. And i also like life, so to answer the actual Question. Yes.

ucme's avatar

I think I was spat out the womb that way. Just wired to positivity I guess, always been that way & I don’t plan on changing anytime soon :¬)

Cruiser's avatar

I think positively and make very good lemonade! It seems to be in high demand these days! XD

WasCy's avatar

@lillycoyote I admit that I thought “pleasure boat” instead of “lifeboat”. (More positive thinking?) I had a different mental image than the one you were projecting. Forget that I said ‘next boat’ in the case of a lifeboat. Here, have a muffin.

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

Nope, I am a pessimist

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I’m not sure I could be called a positive thinker. I’m certainly not a Polyanna, and definitely not a Cassandra. I’m somewhere in the middle. I’ve learned that life is like the weather: no matter what is happening at the present time, things will change. Often, what you do and how you approach things will determine whether that change will be positive or negative. So, I don’t see where we have a choice here—if we sincerely want things to improve. It’s all a lot easier if you aren’t pessimistic.

I won’t be defeated before I give something a good try, then deal with the pieces left over.

SmartAZ's avatar

That can be taken two ways. On the one hand, everybody has known some positive thinkers and it eventually came out that they just refused to face reality. On the other hand you need to think positively because you can’t have a good life if you refuse to admit it. So experience says one thing but wisdom says another. This is called “dichotomy”.

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