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There is a natural tendency to both avoid people who think negatively and to think negative thoughts in general. However, historically, cynical people tend to be right more often than not. Their view of the world may not be popular, but if it’s accurate, then there must be something positive to be said about negative thinking. This is not making the case for extreme negative thinking, such as convincing one’s self that the stock market is about to collapse without good reason, but allowing a certain amount of negative thinking into our psyches has its advantages.
Achieve a balance
Positive thinking is a mood enhancer, but what many people need to realize is that negative thinking brings about a balance in perspective. While not all bad things that enter someone’s mind actually happen, the converse is true. It’s a generally good idea not to get too high or too low on any one thing, mainly because there are factors that will influence the outcome that you have no control over.
Prepare for contingencies
One thing most people don’t want to think about is the possibility of a disaster or tragedy. The likelihood of a fire destroying all your property, a death in the family, or being in an accident are things people tend not to dwell on. Yet people buy fire insurance, life insurance, and auto insurance to minimize the financial impacts in the event of such negative occurrences. It seems logical to suggest that there is a certain amount of negative thinking during these decision-making processes.
A common criminal mentality is something along the lines of It’s not a crime unless I get caught. This excludes the possibility of seriously considering anything other than a positive outcome. So negative thinking that includes the possibility of a negative result for a personal action creates a personal morality. It may not be a acceptable to everyone, but it’s a decent guidepost for personal behavior and social responsibility.
The issue of insurance was brought up earlier, and to stop and think about how the idea of insurance became a reality is the result of negative thinking. What happened is that a positive was extracted from negative thinking, and that result is both a financial boon to the economy and a level of security for millions of people. We don’t often choose to turn things on their head and see the other side, but this is one example that has benefited more than just the creator of insurance.
In conclusion, it is very popular to avoid negative thinking. There are more than a few books on how positive thinking can change your life, career, or financial state. The same holds true for embracing negative views. But between the two, there’s a balance that will give you perspective, and allow you to still look on the bright side of events in your life. If there’s one advantage to negative thinking, it’s that it brings a level of realism to people’s lives, helping them to make better long-term decisions.
Claire Rodriguez writes all about psychology. Her recent work is on The Top 10 Online Psychology Programs.