Finding the Balance In Life’s Negatives and Positives

yin yang symbolI once read a philosophy which stated: we have no right to ask when hardship comes, “Why did this happen to me?” unless we ask the same question for every moment of success that comes our way. Take a moment and really process this. How much more critically do we analyze the negatives, shortcomings and misfortunes of life compared to the positives we’re also given? I know I personally take any set-back hard. I question what I did wrong to bring this on myself and carry a weight on my shoulders for hours or days. Yet, for all the things that go right in any given day, I don’t dedicate this same time to appreciating these moments. When negatives carry such a greater weight in your life, that hanging balance becomes skewed and so does your perspective.

I believe there’s something we can really learn from this philosophy – and it’s to keep a balanced perspective of both the ups and downs of we’re given.

In Business

In running my own business, this is where I feel like I experience the highest peaks and deepest valleys of positives and negatives. It’s not the day to day variances of ups and downs, but the big changes to which I really take notice and take to heart. For example, signing a new client – one that I’m very excited to work with and think I can help a great deal – is an extremely high peak for me. I feel emotions of excitement, stability and like I’m continuing to make progress toward the direction I want Bennis Inc to go. On the other hand, when I experience a setback – a lost client, error in my work or something else – the emotions I experience from this are just as extreme, but far more lasting. I would estimate that experiencing something negative with my business weighs on me ten times as much as an equal balance of positive news. Why is this? I suppose, I overly lay the blame of a negative on myself while not giving the same credit for a positive in which I’ve worked hard to earn. I often chalk all good things up to luck or timing, when in reality, there’s much more to it than that. This is when we must remember that we have no right to ask when hardship comes, “Why did this happen to me?” unless we ask the same question for every moment of success that comes our way.

In Life

In contrast to the peaks and valleys of running a business, in life I seem to over analyze the little things. If I forgot to press start on the dishwasher before leaving the house, I get agitated with my oversight and that the dishes won’t be clean right upon my return. When I’m driving and take the wrong exit or can’t find an ideal parking place, I get annoyed with the lost time and additional effort this is costing me. Yet, I can hardly recall all of the times that these things occur like clockwork, without my thinking – or appreciating. It seems I only remember what disrupts me or bothers me. This is no way to live, right? To apply this philosophy to life, we must embrace our inner child a little bit more and allow ourselves to become genuinely excited for the small blessings every single day. Did the grocery store have your favorite snack still in stock? Did you find an open pump on your first try when filling up with gas? Did you simply remember to lock the door when you left the house (and didn’t second guess yourself and have to go back to check)? These all carry positive weight in our lives and we should be sure to place them appropriately upon our scales. The negatives will always weigh on us without our trying, but we must make more of a conscious effort to also value the weight of our positives.

How do you identify with this philosophy and balance of the negatives and positives in your life? Do you over analyze the bad and overlook the good or do you give thanks for both? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

6 thoughts on “Finding the Balance In Life’s Negatives and Positives

  1. This post makes me think of miracles and tragedies.

    A long time ago, I stopped believing in the possibility of miracles. It came about just by chance; one of those conclusions drawn while trying to fall asleep. More specifically, I was thinking about still believing in Jesus even if his miracles were debunked. Would I continue believing if they were? That kind of thought experiment highlighted how central the supernatural was to my religious framework.

    More recently, I heard Christopher Hitchens talk about miracles in a very egocentric light via youtube. To think that the universe would suspend it’s operation just to benefit me or a group of people can be seen as selfish. In a more broad sense, when anyone talks about a “miraculous recovery” or “the miracle of life” it is easy to forget these things are actually common place; each occurring literally billions of times a day. This isn’t to say they shouldn’t be celebrated though…
    Take leprosy for example: a large percentage of humans have a natural immunity to it. The disease can advance and then recede all on its own without intervention from anyone. We all can attribute dramatic changes likes that to faith healers or antibiotics but double blind studies can add a new and powerfully redefining dimension.

    I also like the idea of asking “why did this happen to me….” as you put it. I have decided “why wouldn’t this happen to me??” to be a more fitting one for life in general.

    Great post!

    1. Thank you for sharing these thoughts! I’m still working toward this balance in my own life. I agree that we need to ask ourselves “why wouldn’t this happen to me” when something good arises. For managing the bad, we deserve the good as well.

  2. Appreciate your honesty – and you’re right that it’s a journey. Truly taking note of what I’m thankful for puts everything else in perspective.

  3. Ultimately we are flawed upon ourselves to reach absolute perfection. As a child we are not to concerned about reaching perfection in what we say, do, think, or act. This could be due to the fact that are minds our underdeveloped until we reach the age of 25 at least for msot of us. I think that ultiamtely we judge ourselves accordingly to the respective position of our counter parts in religious belief and/or idea. This could also due to the fact of how fast pace our economy really is. We have never given ourselves a margin of error to simply be human. We are going to make mistakes and how we judge ourselves is how we view ourselves. You are right however that we should ultimately put more focus on the positives then the negatives. Negative thinking can lead to certain mental disorders and your outlook in life is the most important. I always tell myself that this is only temporary if I am going through a negative situation and it seems to work out.

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