Your experience on earth is largely about how you frame things that occur around you. How you choose to interpret and process things that happen (or don't happen) determines whether your attitude is generally positive or negative. Unfortunately, powerful forces are working against you, bent on infecting you with negativity. Don’t let them win.
How the News Prevents a Positive Attitude
The world is increasingly uncertain, so it's easy to feel like things are out of control. You need only turn on your television or pull up a news site to be confronted with stories designed to evoke an emotional reaction—and almost never a positive one. Instead of simply reporting the information, most journalists frame stories to create a sense of outrage. As much as possible, they want to keep you angry, upset, and glued to their channel to find out why you should be mad as hell.
The more attention you pay to that negative framing, the more negative your attitude will be. Negative framing poisons a positive attitude, especially for stories and events outside your control. No matter how much you want good news on pandemics, supply chains, gas prices, or various geopolitical machinations, the outrage machine won’t give it to you. And the longer you wallow in that sense of helplessness, the more often anger will be your default emotional state.
I’m not saying you should be willfully ignorant, but there is a difference between awareness and attachment. While it is important to be aware of what's going on your world, as it can help you make good decisions, unhealthy attachment leads to a negative outlook, especially if you only have one or two information sources.
Your Political Leanings and Positive Outlook
I don't care about your political leanings. Whether you are Left, Right, or Center, I would never define you solely by your ballot—or believe that you are my enemy because my ballot doesn’t match yours. My friend, Howard Bloom, will tell that politics is "permission to hate." Indeed, we find ourselves in what may be the most polarized and divisive political environment in history. There is special blame due to CNN, MSNBC, and FOX News, all of which guarantee that every story has a villain and a hero—and they can never quite agree which is which.
One of the most important competencies to maintain a positive attitude around politics is the ability to acknowledge another person's perspective, to see through their eyes, and to recognize they have a different view that provides a different set of beliefs. Instead of being convinced that someone who supports and/or votes for the opposition is your enemy, try to understand why they have their perspective. Just as you are allowed your political opinions, recognize that others have the same right.
Your Attitude and the People That Surround You
External forces and organizations can contribute significantly to your negative attitude, but they’re not the only threats. The people you surround yourself with have an outsized impact on your attitude. Negative people will influence you to be more negative, as they believe the future will be worse. People with a positive attitude encourage you to be more positive, optimistic, and future-oriented.
The negative person has a tremendous advantage when it comes to changing your attitude, as they never run out of complaints. It’s true—misery may hate just about everything else, but it loves company. A person with a negative attitude will invite you to cosign on their complaints, always finding more ways to coax you to the Dark Side. They’ll often focus on things completely out of their control, allowing them to gripe about things without ever having to make a difference. You may not be able to change them, but you need to know you are being recruited.
To protect your mindset, you must ensure that your attitude positively supports all your pursuits, even if the complaints come from someone you love. One way to do that is to communicate and hang out with people who have a positive attitude. Instead of complaining, these work to make the improvements in the areas where they have control or influence. The more you learn from them, the more your attitude will match theirs.
The Importance Staying Positive
When two fighters step into a ring, the referee reminds them to "protect yourself at all times." There is no better advice for your attitude and your outlook. An increased awareness and vigilance about what you ingest is critical to making the most of your time here, a short 4,108 weeks, time you don’t want to waste complaining that things aren't the way you wish they were.
There is no great value in being negative and a huge upside of having a positive attitude. You’ll find that the more you remove the sources of negativity, the less negative you will become. Removing harmful influences is the first step to staying positive in an uncertain world, but it’s not the only tactic. You should also work on vaccinating your mindset by taking in what is positive, optimistic, empowering, and future-oriented.