The cone of negativity

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, September 4, 2013, 11:20 PM | comments: 0

Today was one of those days. It felt like the world was being a dick in every possible way. I was engulfed in a wave of negativity. As the meme suggests, ain't nobody got time for that.

Life will be pissy at times. That's just the way that it is. I think we can make choices to minimize the negativity, but eventually, we're exposed to it whether we like it or not. What I've noticed, however, is that there are different ways to deal with it, and some are more effective than others.

The least effective, and easily most annoying if you observe it, is the over-compensating, human motivational poster. I'm sure you know someone like this (especially if you work in software). They're being beaten to death with crappy situations and lame people. And still, they put on a brave face and tell you that they're good to go, all the while wallowing in misery. They're the type who make Facebook posts with catchy phrases of hope and prosperity to mask the fact that they're not happy.

That has to be the worst possible thing you could do. I don't understand the cultural standard that suggests suffering builds character or makes you better. No, it just makes you miserable. It's dishonest and destructive.

The first step in breaking out of the cone of negativity is to simply identify it. It's OK to say, "This sucks." You can't improve anything if you can't admit something isn't right. That's why I'm always a little suspicious of anyone who is switched on at all times. It's not natural.

From acknowledgment, there are all kinds of options in front of you. The obvious thing is to bail and get away from the situation, but that might have even more negative consequences. So you work the problem, being honest with yourself at every step, until the problem goes away.

I've learned to be a fairly happy guy, but it took a lot of practice. Self-awareness works for you, so own suckage so you can act on it. Don't be the human motivational poster who is crying inside.


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