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Insights: Positive or Negative?
October 19, 2010

Positive or Negative?

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"Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation."

- Michael Jordan

One of the most helpful bits of advice I ever received was this:

"Events are not created to be either good or bad, positive or negative, they are just events. Whether you choose to put a positive or negative interpretation on them is entirely up to you."

Making a profound difference

Learning to look for the positive rather than the negative in events and situations that you are confronted with will make a profound difference to the level of joy and happiness that you experience throughout life.

A word of caution

Let me pause for a moment with a word of caution to those who think the answer is to smile and keep a stiff upper lip. If you continually suppress your emotions in order to retain an external manifestation of positivity you will be setting yourself up for trouble at some point in the future as this is not sustainable.

Emotions are our guidance systems

Our emotions are our guidance systems. We suppress and hide them at our peril. Emotions are there to help point the way towards what it is that we truly want - and away from what we don't want - at a deep level. Feeling happy and fulfilled is an indicator that what you are doing is in line with your purpose. Feeling uninspired and frustrated, on the other hand, is an indicator of the need for you to make changes.

Simple really.

So whereas it is important to tune into your emotions and to realize the important role they have to play in directing you along the path you most want for yourself, it is also important to think about the way you interpret the events that occur in your life.

A chance to think deeply

Dismissing an event that makes you feel sad, disappointed, hurt or angry as negative, unfortunate or just plain bad luck represents the loss of an opportunity - the chance to think deeply about why the event was necessary and how it could actually turn out to be be a helpful or positive happening in the overall scheme of your life.

Let me offer a small example from my own life.

In 2000, during the height of my corporate career, I felt determined to find a part time business that would propel my earnings to a level that would ultimately allow me more freedom. I bought into a share and derivative trading education system that I diligently learnt about and I took a small part of my savings and invested it in a US trading account.

Steady progress but wanting more

During the next two years I was to benefit from applying the systems and techniques I had learnt and gradually saw my trading account start to grow. But in 2003 I started to get impatient with the slow but steady progress, wanting much more and much more quickly. So instead of trading shares I ventured into the much more risky world of trading options. Then I became seduced by the prospect of a 'get rich quick scheme' offered by an 'auto trade' service.

Handing over responsibility

'Auto trading' is where you hand complete responsibility for your trading account to an 'expert' third party service. Instead of advising you on what to trade and when they do it all for you. Within three months I lost $20,000 - my initial savings plus the healthy growth that I had achieved through my own somewhat amateurish but disciplined and well directed efforts over three years.

Anger turned to thankfulness

For months I was angry, upset and disappointed with myself. But as I look back at that event now, I am profoundly thankful for the positive contribution it had to my life.

I realized two important things:

Firstly that success comes only when you take control of - and responsibility for your own actions. Secondly, share trading (which is ultimately a zero-sum game that adds no value) did not compliment my life purpose of inspiring and motivating others.

I hope this served as some food for thought for you!

Till next week...

Warm regards,


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