“It’s all down hill….until you start running up hill”

First published by About Our Town Community News in Piscataway, NJ in May 2015.

So after we’re done being blissful teenagers, we soon realize that life is full of obstacles. The first one we experience is the college freshman 15. This seemingly unavoidable phenomena is defined as reluctantly gaining at least 15 pounds after graduating high school (just due to the fact that you’re at college.) That’s just one challenge, but obstacles range from small to large, difficult to easy, and negative to positive. If you’ve got a positive outlook on life however, everything will change for you, and I mean EVERYTHING.

Let’s give an example: I have to save for a new car because my old cars’ transmission is a lost cause. Those who see the glass half empty probably think that having to save for a car is a negative battle, they’ll say things like “I’ll be behind with the bills, I’ll have to work more, I won’t have time to watch CSI re-runs!” On the contrary, glass half-full-ers have their eyes fixed on the end result: a new car in my driveway in due time, on their journey they will think things like “I’ll have to work more, but then I’ll have a reliable car and won’t have this pressing issue on my mind: It’ll be worth it.” Saving up money for a new car is a positive battles…see the positivity paradigm? My proposed theory is as follows: positivity=less stress. Less stress=happier life. Too bad obtaining this positive attitude isn’t as easy as it seems

Positivity doesn’t just happen for most of us; it’s something we have to work on every day. You need to constantly practice a positive attitude to make it last. I would argue that it is easier for naturally positive people to stay happy, sort of related to the idea of genes predisposing people to certain lifestyles. If you’ve got the happy gene, it’s easier to wake up in a good mood. That’s just life.

All of us are exposed to opportunities to practice our positive attitude every day. Every now and again I hear my elders say “it’s all downhill from here.” Well is that true? I guess it depends on your outlook. The only way to not slide down the path is to run up the hill. Now I don’t mean we have to literally run up a hill (even though some good cardio will do anyone some good) but we do need to understand one component of making the climb. Motivation. We need motivation to keep climbing up the hill of life, that’s the only way we can keep going. We will always encounter new problems, but we need to face them with a positive attitude and motivation to tackle the battle.

Some people find motivation from their family and friends. Others are motived by money and success. There are an unlimited number of motivational hosts around us, just look around. I challenge you to take this month to discover what motivates you. I dare you to identify how often you take the positive route when it comes to your obstacles. On the way, you might learn a little more about yourself.

Quote to consider by one of the fathers of psychology William James: “The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.” (1842-1910)

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