By Clayton Ainger
We are all familiar with negativity, what it feels like, and the side effects it can have on our lives, but what is negativity and why do we experience it?
The primary role of negativity is to keep us safe.
It is essentially an evolution of our “fight, flight, or freeze” response, which once protected our ancestors from all sorts of things that don’t really feature in our modern lives. In today’s world, our responses aren’t always very adaptive; they often hinder rather than help us in our lives. We’re all well aware that the number of situations where genuine fight or flight are the best responses is very low, but we still (figuratively speaking) do much the same as our ancestors once did.
Moreover, our reactions to negativity set precedents and create patterns that we continue to play out until we consciously choose to make a change. What does this mean? In essence, our thoughts shape our attitudes (i.e., the stories we tell ourselves), which shape our behaviors, and our behaviors contribute to how we experience life, which shapes our thoughts, reaffirming our attitudes, and so on. There is an on going feedback loop: By holding a certain thought and corresponding attitude that we’re, e.g., no good at presentation skills (based on minimal experience), we avoid delivering presentations in the future. We therefore never challenge the idea that we’re bad at presenting, instead when we see other people presenting, we often say to ourselves, “Wow! That’s such a great presentation; I could never be that good.” We subconsciously repeat the thought and reaffirm the attitude that I’m not good enough, or I cant because, or I’m not worthy…
What this does mean is that we can have conscious insight into our thoughts, our attitudes, and our behaviors and consciously choose to make a change. We can look to our behaviors and the motivations behind them, then work back to discover the attitudes and thoughts that generated them in the first place. The difficulty is that we’re conditioned to see negativity as fundamentally bad, so we seek to avoid it, stuff it down, and ignore it.
I invite you to adopt a fresh approach to negativity, and discover its power as fuel for change. Negativity motivates change, demonstrating its true importance by highlighting areas of our life that need work.
Adopting this fresh approach and giving negativity a new meaning, one which allows us to understand it as natural, normal, and there to learn from can be the best way to manage it and truly be in control of life. As a minimum, it will help us to avoid the trap of reacting automatically (and self-defeating) to a perceived threat.
Putting off a challenge is like standing on the edge of a cold swimming pool. The longer you stand there, the colder you get.
Once you dive in, that initial feeling of intimidation is gone. The more you engage and see evidence of your ability to manage and excel in your life, the more your confidence will grow. Once you reposition your approach to negativity to take advantage of it instead of letting it hinder you, your life will transform on all levels.
Clayton Ainger plays many roles in his life; the most important being a daddy and husband. Clayton is a very passionate individual—passionate about loving life and enjoying every aspect of it—and his ethos is to make every person matter every time, while helping people to embrace their individuality, understand the power of doing what comes naturally, and discover what truly makes their hearts sing! His award-winning and No. 1 bestselling book, The Ego’s Code (Panoma Press), offers fresh insights and simple yet powerful exercises to enable to change reality and ultimately to live your dream life. For more information visit claytonjohnainger.com.