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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

If you go about your day looking for misery and bad luck won't you miss all the good stuff around you?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26829points) February 8th, 2011

If you wake up and go through the day expecting or looking for pain, misery, and poor luck in your personal life isn’t it way more likely that is what your radar will be focused on? If you spend all your time trying to ferret out every negative thing in the day isn’t it more likely you will miss all the little but positive things the day have?

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18 Answers

partyparty's avatar

Yes I think perhaps that is true, negativity will follow you around all day.
Each and every morning, and before I get out of bed I think of all the good things I am going to do that day, think about how fortunate I am and generally focus on the happy things in my life.
When I am feeling positive I then get out of bed in a positive frame of mind and I have a happy day.

optimisticpessimist's avatar

Yes, I think that is true unless something unexpectedly nice happens and that can change your thinking. I find that if I am being really grumpy I try to do something nice for someone else and they usually return the favor (with something even as simple as a smile) and that usually changes my mood significantly.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

If you look for the worst,you will find the worst.;)

SmashTheState's avatar

No. Repeated clinical studies have shown that people who are experiencing clinical depression show markedly superior judgement in tasks like guessing whether a given shape will fit a given hole. Those who are not depressed err constantly on the side of optimism. This suggests that depression is simply the removal of a filter which causes everyone else to perceive the world as being unrealistically pleasant. The fact of the matter is that life is tragedy; we are born alone and in pain, and die the same way. In between we are motivated by terror of death.

It is important, therefore, that we accept that our lives will be miserable, painful, and unpleasant, but that we accept it anyway. This is the essential message of a great many teachers, thinkers, and philosophers.

“All created things perish. All created things are grief and pain. All forms are unreal. One who knows and sees this becomes passive in pain; this is the way that leads to purity.” — Gautama Buddha

“However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are.” — Henry David Thoreau, Walden

“Life is truly known only to those who suffer, lose, endure adversity and stumble from defeat to defeat.” — Ryszard Kapuscinski

I leave you with this poem, which has always been one of my favourites:

There is no hope for me;

no gleam of light
To my black path will any comfort lend

-Yet will I meet with smiling face, upright
The End.

Aleister Crowley

Scooby's avatar

I always focus on the positives, negative never comes into it for me, I wake up positive & I go to bed positive…. My only negative thoughts are of negative people, the can’t does & the won’t does & the “it’s not my job” kind of people… I don’t dwell it though, something positive always comes along because that’s what I’m always looking for. :-/
If you look for misery then you will surely find it IMO……..

Sandman's avatar

@SmashTheState A valid supposition, but wouldn’t you just be so completely unhappy living like that, I mean, all other aspects considered why do that to yourself?

SmashTheState's avatar

@Sandman I find that I don’t need happiness in my life. If all you want out of life is to be happy, then I recommend drugs. Drugs are very good at inducing happiness. Happiness is a very easy state to reach. You’ll have a small, meaningless life, then a purposeless death, and posterity will sweep away your remains like you never existed. Me, I am free to pursue my dreams because I have no need or desire for happiness.

A while back, I was caught doing some direct action by a police surveillance team. The bail conditions they offered me would effectively have banned me from the city. (I am a well-known activist and not beloved by the police.) My lawyer warned me that if I didn’t accept their bail conditions, I might spend the next year and a half in prison, waiting for trial. The police relied on the incorrect supposition that going to prison and enduring hardship would be a great disincentive for me. I went to prison and began organizing the inmates. A week and a front-page newspaper story on conditions in the prison later, they hauled me into court and released me without ANY bail conditions at all. Yes, that’s right, I got thrown out of prison.

I have found other things to motivate me besides happiness: rage, hate, obsession, challenge, mastery, and the Will to Power. I’ll let you in on a little secret; Darth Vader was right, you have no idea the power of the Dark Side. Long after love, honour, and friendship are cold, bitter dust, hate will keep you putting one foot in front of the other long into the dark, existential night of the soul.

augustlan's avatar

@SmashTheState That’s dark, dude. While I agree that life is hard, it is not without its joys and comforts. I sincerely hope you have a chance to experience some of them.

I try not to have any preconceived notions about how my day/week/year/life will go. Of course, I’m not always successful in that endeavor, but more often than not I manage. That way, whatever happens is just… a happening, you know? Things can be really fucking awful one minute, and then really fucking awesome the next.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@augustlan I’m with you. I just take the day as it comes. I don’t expect roses, I don’t expect thorns. But I’m always open to the good things and welcome them with open arms and more often than not, the good happens. If crap happens I deal with it, minimize it and move on.

Coloma's avatar


We do create our own reality by the thoughts we keep.

Years ago I dropped the word ‘problem’ from my vocabulary.

There are no ‘problems’, only situations.

Seek and ye shall find, and that goes for the good and the bad.

It is all dependent on where you put your focus.

I like the mantra ’ pain happens, suffering is optional.’

‘Suffering’ meaning that it is the stories one creates, and personalizes through ego, usually along the lines of how unfair something is, or why something ‘shouldn’t’ be happening.

In other words, we create suffering by fighting with reality instead of just accepting the facts and moving on to do what we can to change a situation.

In my experience the most unhappy people are the ones that have yet to learn that nothing is ever ‘personal’, they are not being singled out by God or the Universe for some sort of special punishment and, there is a formula to their misery.

Poor me + angry & envious, + life is sooo unfair, + ‘It’s not my fault, it is…’ ( fill in the blanks )
the fault of my background, parents, education/lack of education/, society/the ‘world’ nauseum


Being a victim offers a big payoff for many, namely lack of self responsibility and a way to manipulate others to aide in their sense of entitlement. Gah!

Must suck to be you I say! lol

john65pennington's avatar

As my children were growing up, I always made this statement to them: “if you go looking for trouble, you will find it”. The same applies to your question.

Each day, I look up to the heavens and thank the Lord for another beautiful day and another day of life.

This starts my day off with a smile and that I am ready to face the world.

Try it.

It’s chicken soup for your soul.

Meego's avatar

@SmashTheState while the purposed answer tells us you don’t want “happiness” your very wrong your “happiness” lies in your morale which appears to be in a very different state than the latter of the comments. So to speculate that you do not need happiness in your life I beg to differ, your way of happiness is much different from everyone else for as long as you feel content in your actions..Ergo you can deny all you want but the dark side is your happiness.

blueiiznh's avatar

I also disagree with @SmashTheState
If a person is doing this, then their filter is looking for the negative, and filtering out the positive. They will miss out on things or worse, they will find bad in everything (even the good stuff).
Of course we should have feelings and take care of the good and bad around us. But it is what one does with those negative moments. Do they want to stay in the negative, or face it and find a way back to the positive.
The brain and Central Nervous System is amazing and if you are looking for and expecting bad, you will find it. You can make it, You can manufacture it. Your brain will make you believe what you want it to.
The OP is asking about a person who is expecting and looking for pain and that is exactly what it will find.
It is a persons choice to live how they wish. The problem I have is when they push their pain and negativity onto others. This is where the tradegy occurs in life. When one person tries to control another persons thinking and feelings. Some people like to see others suffer and gain strength and power from that.
So while I am a person who looks and strives for positive, I can also notice and see those negative things around me and do something for myself with it. For those who are doom and gloom, I choose to walk away from it.
@SmashTheState and others, I too will leave you with a poem, which has always been one of my favorites and most powerful to me:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~marianne williamson

Coloma's avatar


Bravo, bravo!

I have heard that before, but it is great to read it again, here, now. :-)

Yes, never dummy down, cower down or flip the dimmer switch on your light to appease the insecure.

Meego's avatar

I choose to live positive instead of negative, I do think the success rate is much higher more esthetically pleasing and way less dramatic when your attitude is in positive motion.

stratman37's avatar

“Gloom! Despair! Agony on me.

Deep dark depression, excessive misery.

If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.

Gloom, Despair, and Agony on me!”

SavoirFaire's avatar

Optimism and pessimism are both self-reinforcing. But as @SmashTheState mentions, one cognitive bias does not entail others.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@stratman37 You forgot the ftttppp.

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