Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Different Angle

I made a New Year's Resolution a few years ago to Be Less Negative.  A friend promptly pointed out that my first step in keeping my resolution should be to rephrase my resolution from Be Less Negative to Be More Positive. I laughed, agreed and then proceeded to tell this very story every time the topic of negativity or resolutions came up.

What I didn't realize at the time was that Be Less Negative and Be More Positive were two entirely different resolutions.  When I was less negative, it didn't automatically mean I became more positive.  Just because I was focusing less on what I didn't like about my job didn't mean that I was thinking about what I liked about it instead.  I didn't replace my negative thoughts with positive ones.  While it would be nice if positivity and negativity were a nice, neat sliding scale of -50 to 50, sometimes the parts just don't quite add up to 100.

Similarly, sometimes an event or milestone doesn't quite live up to all of the hype leading up to it.  As a result, the actual event or milestone that you'd been so eagerly looking forward to for so many months ends up being disappointing.  My solution has always been to lower my expectations.  If you're not expecting something to be amazing, then you can't be as disappointed if it's not and you'll be pleasantly surprised if it is.  But then I had a thought: why am I trying to Be Less Negative when I could be trying to Be More Positive?

Instead of lowering expectations to avoid disappointment, why not accept that the whole may actually be less than the sum of its parts and enjoy both sides of the equation?   It is possible to enjoy the means, the process, the anticipation, the hype, the expectation, the build-up just as much as the end itself.  In some ways, the process is the very fun itself.  It's like a road trip - it isn't the destination that matters so much as the journey itself.

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