The Beauty of Non-Positive Thinking

Yomiuri Shimbun : First of all, I’d like to ask you a direct question. Are you really negative [about everything]?
Rui Kurihara : I’ve never said before that I’m negative.
Q: Whoa! That answer could rock the very foundation of this interview.
A: I’m neither negative nor positive. But recently, I’ve come to dislike the word “positive.”
Q: Why on earth would you say that?
A: I feel like being positive is an escape from reality. We have to recognize and accept bad situations, don’t we?
Q: You’re a humble person, aren’t you?
A: No, no. I’m cautious, or perhaps I should say I try hard not to disturb others.
Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: I always stay at home.

Not your average naysayer / Kurihara takes ‘negative’ to new level, Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 7, 2012

yotsuya

ILLUSIONS AND THREAT OF POSITIVE THINKING

According to research by the psychologist Gabriele Oettingen and her colleagues, visualizing a successful outcome, under certain conditions, can make people less likely to achieve it.

Ancient philosophers and spiritual teachers understood the need to balance the positive with the negative, optimism with pessimism, a striving for success and security with an openness to failure and uncertainty. The Stoics recommended “the premeditation of evils,” or deliberately visualizing the worst-case scenario.

From this perspective, the relentless cheer of positive thinking begins to seem less like an expression of joy and more like a stressful effort to stamp out any trace of negativity….A positive thinker can never relax, lest an awareness of sadness or failure creep in.

The social critic Barbara Ehrenreich has persuasively argued that the all-positive approach, with its rejection of the possibility of failure, helped bring on our present financial crises.

by Oliver Burkeman, author of the book “The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking.”

The Power of Negative Thinking, NYT, August 4, 2012

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