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Deconstructing Positivity – The Coaching Room

When James Hayes was asked if he’s a positive person, he answered simply, “I’m pragmatic.”  The reason he doesn’t subscribe to positivity and happiness is that it’s not possible to make positivity real and valuable without bringing the same significance to negativity.  Positivity cannot exist without negativity and if you choose one, the other must exist as well.  James chooses to view the world from a standpoint of sensibility, without judgment, so as not to make negativity more valuable than it needs to be.  


A Partial Perspective

It may sound like a loss to give up such optimism, but the truth is being positive isn’t very positive after all.  It’s only a partial perspective.  When you are being positive, you are only valuing 50% of the equation.  If you are having a day you consider positive you may say you’re having a good day. Conversely, on a day you consider negative you would label it a bad day. On the sliding scale of negative to positive, you only give value to positive days, thereby artificially making half of your reality a problem.


 The phenomenon created by having a positive to negative viewpoint is that you can only know one in contrast to the other. The more aware you are of positivity, the more aware you become of negativity. The more you love positivity, the more you fear or hate negativity. When you come to value positive people, ideas, and experiences, at the same time you have created an excuse to devalue anything you imagine to be negative.


A contrasting alternative is to relax into the present moment and give up expectations of what the next moment will bring.


The irony of this potential shift is that without labeling or evaluating the experience to be a “happy” one, it’s often experienced as exactly that. 


Live In The Moment

The question is, how does one go about practicing this philosophy? There’s a quote by A.H. Almaas that says, “You cannot make yourself be happy, you can only cease your judgments.”  This thinking suggests engagement in the moment without an attempt to change it.  


James shares a tip from NLP to help you integrate this way of thinking, which is to realise that what you think is not real. What you construct as imaginings, problems, and resistances are created in your mind and then projected into reality in a way that directs what you pay attention too. If you go a step further and have learned the NLP communication model and framing and reframing, you can very easily introspectively explore and deconstruct the emotional struggles that your mind has created.


When you can do that in a step by step way and see how one domino leans on another in your mind, that’s when you really know that what you think isn’t real. With practice, you can change your perspective and the way you relate to your mind in general.  As you learn to change your thoughts, you will find the results of these changes impact your reality. What becomes apparent is that beliefs cemented by the mind in actuality are spurious and unreal.  


Choose To Be Happy

If thoughts can be changed so easily they cannot exist as an absolute truth that should dictate your entire reality. This brings us back to the issue of positivity. 


People like being positive but you cannot have positivity alone. Being positive feels good, but negativity can be draining.  Oscillating between the two extremes can feel like a roller coaster ride.  If you hold onto the idea of positivity, you also have to maintain the idea of negativity.  If you choose to be here in the present, you free yourself to enjoy each moment without the judgment of positivity versus negativity.   Enjoy is a verb, it’s a process. Be in the moment and enjoy it.


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