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March 15th, 2019
A negative statement like “I can’t do math” instantly ceases to be a pessimistic conclusion and suddenly embodies the underdog process of a person who is learning when the word ‘yet’ is added to the end.
I can’t do math….yet.
Without the key final word, the statement is planted squarely in the mental composition of pessimism. The perspective shifts with the addition of yet. For all those of able body, we are perhaps familiar with the case of moving in one direction, stopping to think, and then taking a step in a new direction. If we look down at our feet during this moment, one is facing in the old direction. The other has pivoted away, and its on this new direction that we put our efforts. We physically invoke the notion of two different perspectives in such a case. The old one, heading in the wrong direction, and the new direction that may pay off.
Pessimistic statements may be broadcasted as realistic, but their true potential effect on our own psychology arises when we combine such statements with other perspectives.
For instance, it’s common to shrug one’s shoulders with a pair of enlightened eyebrows held high while saying:
That’s just the way things are.
This is pessimism trying to masquerade as tough-love realism. And it becomes apparent when we add just a tiny spin to the statement to tweak the perspective.
One can instead say:
That’s just the way things are, currently.
Here too we find a conclusion flipped into an active statement, one that opens up the future and frees it from being anything like the past – if only we use the present in novel ways. Failing to use the present like this merely repeats the past and turns life into a kind of monotony. There is of course a degree of fear that crops up while trying new things, but this is often a good sign. It’s a signal that we are venturing into unknown territory.
So often our ability and opportunity to take a few different perspectives on a situation, even our own situation, is wasted. Our feet march in the same direction and yesterday manifests again as tomorrow.
Simply Pausing to consider options and possibilities opens up the future, for the mere fact that it creates a choice. We can continue on the track we’ve been on, or we can entertain the new directions of such an imaginative cross-roads, and perhaps, venture out into the unknown.