One day this week I read probably hundreds of internet sites all about positive sentences and inspirational quotes. I’d like to share with you what I’ve discovered after running my own mini-experiment on positive sentences (I was thinking of trying negative sentences too but I saw no reason to actively encourage myself to think negatively, and I discovered that there wasn’t really much difference between a positive and a negative sentence – it just depends on how you label it.)
I decided to start with positive words, following some advice on a random wikihow article. This article suggested thinking “My positive word is…” (with your positive word at the end of the sentence). I’m not going to share with you my positive word, because it wouldn’t have made any difference if it had been any other word I picked. I picked the very first word that popped into my head, which happened to be the name of someone I know. Since I found it hilarious that that was the first word to pop into my head, that is now my positive word, and it has yet to fail to make me laugh/smile at the thought my positive word, though I’m not particularly sure why as it’s not really funny. I don’t find my positive word positive because of what the word is – it might as well be lollipop or bungalow or banana – I think it’s more the process of remember being positive whenever you think of “positive”. Wit h my positive word, I kept thinking that I should come up with a better word that actually means something, but came to the conclusion that a word’s just a word, a collection symbols or basic sounds, and it’s the meaning I derive from it that’s more important.
This led me on to consider what was the point of having a positive word – is it meant to inspire in you an attitude that you can succeed at something, or just momentarily cheer you up, or give your brain something to divert to when you’re thinking negatively, so overall you think more positively? What if I was to instead think “My negative word is…”? I think it would actually make me think more positively than negatively, as I’d probably just find it amusing! Then again, why should I want it to be simply a word or sentence that inspires me/motivates me/cheers me up? Would it not be better to be motivated by some deep willpower with actual reasons for motivation, or should we just be motivated for the sake of it? Personally I would take the latter view as although both of these could be considered as “intrinsic motivation” if you only start something because you’ve already got some urge to do so, you’d never learn the skill of developing a love for anything else, maybe being less motivated overall. Last summer, I met Jo Cameron (from the Apprentice) and one thing she said to me (it’s irrelevant what she was referring to), “Love it. Love it. Love it. And when you stop loving it, find a way to love it again.” So whilst I’d agree that we should “love” whatever it is, putting yourself in a state of mind where you’d more positively want to love anything, not just this chosen thing to do, could maybe make you overall more motivated.
I then went on to consider a whole, positive sentence. The first sentences that I thought of were those that never fail to make me laugh (and I doubt anyone else would understand why I find them amusing as they wouldn’t know the whole story behind it). One such sentence is “Don’t sulk in sectionals” (and I’d expect that you have absolutely no clue what I’m going on about!). But then, I don’t feel particularly motivated to arise out of a bad situation, but I am in a much better mood (or possibly not as I’m never really in a bad mood in first place and I was perfectly happy 2 minutes ago) than I was a few minutes ago. Other people’s positive sentences and inspirational quotes seem to be along the lines of “everything’ll be ok” or they’ll rule the world one day. Personally I don’t find such a mentality very inspirational to do anything, as it seems to imply that if you do nothing life will make itself better anyway. I’ve cast my thoughts back to what I’ve told myself when faced with problems (I mean actual problems as opposed to my random mathematical/physical questions like “how can thrust be modeled at a molecular level?”). And I haven’t thought of anything much, besides “my willpower can overcome it” whenever in a situation of mind over matter – but that’s not really a “positive sentence”, it’s just me telling myself that I can do whatever it is, and if I was aware that I really couldn’t, I wouldn’t think that I could anyway!
In conclusion, I’d say that I don’t really need a positive sentence, because I can make myself positive simply through an enjoyment of thinking (and music) – and I have a habit of smiling. I’ve long since made my outlook on life positive, and one word or phrase is not going to change that, though it’s nice to know that thinking of a random word a linking it with being positive can make me smile, but then again maybe it’s a bit daft to use this to divert my thinking from something else, even if it would be a less depressing thought, as it has no purpose and its effect might last until I stop thinking of it. I’d rather face whatever the depressing thought may be and find some way to be positive despite that, rather than a completely unrelated reason to be happy.
What are your positive thoughts?