If you watch the news, you’ll see that most of it is negative. As a result, we’ve started to believe that the world is a negative place, and we live in fight-or-flight mode, scanning the world for things that could hurt, harm, or kill us.

But here’s the truth: this leaves us scanning the world for the negative things instead of the positive things.

Imagine you’re going grocery shopping at Walmart. What do you see?

The employee stocking the vegetables is in your way.
Some of the aisles have been switched around, making it harder for you to find what you need.
The checkout line is long.
The person scanning your groceries looks like she hates you.
It’s raining when you leave, getting you and your groceries soaking wet.

Remember when we talked about your brain’s Prover? (Ya know, the part of your brain that looks for things that prove your beliefs to be true.) In this scenario, it is set to “Negativity” or “Danger Detector” and scanning for the bad… and this is hurting you.

What if you worked to switch your Prover to “optimism and positivity”?

Now what do you see?

The employee stocking vegetables means you get the freshest produce that will last longer.
A teenager is helping an older woman in a wheelchair get the groceries she needs.
The aisles being moved around means that you got the pasta you forgot to put on your list because it was on what you thought was the bread aisle. Plus, there’s now more aisle room, so that your cart doesn’t get trapped or stuck all the time.
The person in front of you at the checkout line bought the groceries of the struggling mom in front of them.
The person scanning your groceries is actually finishing up a 12 hour shift and is just ready to see the kids that she loves so much.
The rain means there’s less pollen in the air to trigger all your allergies.

See what happens when you start looking for the optimism and the good?

Now here’s the deal, you’re actually going to have to LOOK for the good.

Here’s why…
There’s this oh-so-wonderful thing called “inattentional blindness.” It’s our frequent inability to see what is right in front of us if we’re not directly focusing in on it.

It’s why you missed all the good things that happened at Walmart…

…the teenager helping the older woman.
…the person in front of you at the checkout line paying it forward.
…the other employee telling your cashier she can go home to see her kids after she finishes checking you out.
…the manager holding the umbrella as a woman load her kids and groceries into the minivan.

We tend to miss what we’re not looking for. Because your Prover wasn’t set to optimism, you missed all the good things happening around you.

So here’s the question: how do we get past our inattentional blindness and set our Prover to optimism?

3 GOOD THINGS
Studies show that if you write down 3 good things each day for a week, you’ll be happier and less depressed in the long-term. When you have to write down 3 good things that happened, your brain will looking for things that are good throughout the day.

WRITING EXERCISE
Write about a positive experience for 20 minutes. Do this 30x per week. You’ll be happier now and in the long-run. Plus, you’ll reduce illness.

 

Question: Why does optimism matter?

If you watch the news, you’ll see that most of it is negative. As a result, we’ve started to believe that the world is a negative place, and we live in fight-or-flight mode, scanning the world for things that could hurt, harm, or kill us.

But here’s the truth: this leaves us scanning the world for the negative things instead of the positive things.

Imagine you’re going grocery shopping at Walmart. What do you see?

The employee stocking the vegetables is in your way.
Some of the aisles have been switched around, making it harder for you to find what you need.
The checkout line is long.
The person scanning your groceries looks like she hates you.
It’s raining when you leave, getting you and your groceries soaking wet.

Remember when we talked about your brain’s Prover? (Ya know, the part of your brain that looks for things that prove your beliefs to be true.) In this scenario, it is set to “Negativity” or “Danger Detector” and scanning for the bad… and this is hurting you.

What if you worked to switch your Prover to “optimism and positivity”?

Now what do you see?

The employee stocking vegetables means you get the freshest produce that will last longer.
A teenager is helping an older woman in a wheelchair get the groceries she needs.
The aisles being moved around means that you got the pasta you forgot to put on your list because it was on what you thought was the bread aisle. Plus, there’s now more aisle room, so that your cart doesn’t get trapped or stuck all the time.
The person in front of you at the checkout line bought the groceries of the struggling mom in front of them.
The person scanning your groceries is actually finishing up a 12 hour shift and is just ready to see the kids that she loves so much.
The rain means there’s less pollen in the air to trigger all your allergies.

See what happens when you start looking for the optimism and the good?

Now here’s the deal, you’re actually going to have to LOOK for the good.

Here’s why…
There’s this oh-so-wonderful thing called “inattentional blindness.” It’s our frequent inability to see what is right in front of us if we’re not directly focusing in on it.

It’s why you missed all the good things that happened at Walmart…

…the teenager helping the older woman.
…the person in front of you at the checkout line paying it forward.
…the other employee telling your cashier she can go home to see her kids after she finishes checking you out.
…the manager holding the umbrella as a woman load her kids and groceries into the minivan.

We tend to miss what we’re not looking for. Because your Prover wasn’t set to optimism, you missed all the good things happening around you.

So here’s the question: how do we get past our inattentional blindness and set our Prover to optimism?

3 GOOD THINGS
Studies show that if you write down 3 good things each day for a week, you’ll be happier and less depressed in the long-term. When you have to write down 3 good things that happened, your brain will looking for things that are good throughout the day.

WRITING EXERCISE
Write about a positive experience for 20 minutes. Do this 30x per week. You’ll be happier now and in the long-run. Plus, you’ll reduce illness.

 

Question: Why does optimism matter?

We’ll talk about that in our next blog post…