How do we reconcile having a “positive attitude” with “progress”? I’ve always heard that progress comes from dissatisfaction. No one who is completely satisfied wants anything to change. But being dissatisfied always sounds like such a negative space to live. When I try to remain positive about my situation, I feel like I’m trying to live in an alternate reality. As I was walking from my RV to the laundry room the two ideas became one in my mind. It was like a thunderbolt, an epiphany. You can be dissatisfied and positive at the same time!
Here’s an example. “This job sucks! I quit!” is a negative way to deal with dissatisfaction. It doesn’t help anything really. There are good reasons to not quit. But living with a job that sucks without doing anything about it, just humming along like everything is just as you would like it to be, isn’t positive either. It can damage your well-being after awhile. You’re not living with the reality. How can I handle dissatisfaction with my job (or other situation) in a positive way without denying the reality of its “suckness”? I can think to myself, “This job sucks! What can I do to make it better?” The reality is that the situation is not what you would like it to be but sometimes you just don’t have the freedom to change it, but you can change how you view it in relation to other situations or seek to change something about that situation that would make it better for you.
In the online world, it seems there are loads of people pointing out what is not good about the world but there are few that are actually doing anything about it. I don’t mean you need to go out and start a foundation to feed the hungry in the whole world. I mean that, instead of pointing out that there are starving people that need to be fed, we could try feeding one person one meal. We could build a “Little Library” in our neighborhood instead of complaining that no one reads books anymore, or start a book club that meets for lunch once a month. Instead of complaining that kids these days aren’t respectful of others, we could try being more respectful of the people around us regardless of how they treat us.
I guess that’s just another version of “Be the change you want to see in the world.” but it is such a potent statement. There really is nothing we can do about what is happening to people halfway across the world, or even halfway across our state, but we can seriously affect the lives of the people around us every day. If I make the people around me happier, they make the people around them happier, and they make the people around them happier. It’s like the ripples in the pond idea. Sooner or later, those people halfway around the world are touched by the ripples I set in motion by being kind to my own family.