I’d be willing to bet that there are thousands of quotations and hundreds of books written about positive thinking. Two such books that come to mind that had a profound impact on me are Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s “The Power of Positive Thinking” and Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People”
These books and the hundreds of others like them have central themes about how, generally, positivity wins over negativity. And most of them suggest that if you think positively, you will generally act positively. And the reverse is true too.
Favorite quotations of mine that confirm this idea include, “Choose the world you see, and see the world you choose.” (Jonathan Lockwood Huie); “Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.” (Zig Ziglar); “Find the good. It’s all around you. Find it, showcase it and you’ll start believing in it.” (Jesse Owens); “You are today where your thoughts have brought you.” (James Allen); “Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.” (Proverbs 4:23); and perhaps my favorite by an unknown writer: “Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your words. Be careful of your words, for your words become your actions. Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits. Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character. Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny.”
OK. Positive is better than negative. “So what?” you might ask. One of my recent columns was focused on the news about protestors who were (and still are) demonstrating in several states to have governors ease what some see as overly restrictive stay at home orders and how, as Americans, we can both be concerned about and protecting of our hard won liberties and also about containing Covid-19.
A week later Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts wrote a column on the same subject taking a very negative slant on this topic. His column entitled, “I will not die stupid,” called the protesters arguing for reduced state restrictions “Goobers in MAGA hats.” Mr. Pitts’ negativism clouded his capacity to even contemplate any positive aspect of the protesters’ efforts, of which there are some.
Reading Mr. Pitts’ column got me to thinking. I don’t know about you, but I cannot name a columnist identified as a “liberal” writer (this includes Mr. Pitts) that writes positive, upbeat columns filled with gratitude. Oh, there may be an exception from time to time, but the vast majority of their writing is negative. It must be that they think negatively and therefore they speak (and write) negatively. If positivity theories promoted by all those books and quotations are correct, then these columnists must therefore act negatively too.
I don’t know any high profile liberal writer personally. I’m quite sure they’re fine ladies and gentlemen who have families and friends that love them despite their negativism.
Still, the Washington Post seems to have more than their fair share of downbeat writers consistently penning negative columns about the state of our nation and its people and politics. These writers include Mr. E.J. Dionne, Mr. Eugene Robinson, Mr. Dana Milbank, and Ms. Kathleen Parker. While there is a place in our world for woe-is-me pessimism, if the positivity theories in all those books and quotations have even a sliver of truth in them, then these writers must be very difficult to live with.
And they won’t live very long either. Researchers from Boston University’s School of Medicine found last year that “individuals with greater optimism are more likely to live longer.”
But I get it. Bad news sells. While bad news might sell papers does it buy relationships? Is there anyone who wants to be around someone with a dark cloud hanging over his or her head all the time?
Little gets done in our world by pessimists. As President Dwight D. Eisenhower put it, “Pessimism never won any battle.” I prefer to be around positive people and avoid negative ones. And I want positive people as my leaders. I know I’m not alone.
In fact, at the risk of sounding downbeat myself, I would actually hate to be the negative, bitter, sad, unconstructive, pessimistic person that seems to comprise the majority of what liberal writers must think, and therefore they speak (write), and therefore must develop habits for and act like, and therefore they ARE. It’s their destiny. I wouldn’t want to be any one of them.
I’ll “Count the roses,” as Matshona Dhliwayo advises we do. Thank you. “Not the thorns.” I’d rather “win friends and influence people” than turn them away.
It used to be that liberals were known as “bleeding hearts” because they allegedly (positively I might add) cared more about people than conservatives. They seemed to believe, as Charles Glassman suggested, “… negative thoughts are the single greatest obstruction to success.”
Mr. Robinson opined the other day in a Washington Post column that Trump, “… couldn’t lead a silent prayer.” Whether it’s Trump or “goobers in MAGA hats,” liberal writers have given up their bleeding hearts and turned them into dark, hateful organs of depression, despair, and unhelpfulness, so much so that I can’t imagine them winning (or leading for that matter) at anything. Despite their Pulitzer Prizes.
Newspaper columnist Barry Fetzer lives on Queens Creek.