No, of course you haven’t heard any good negative predictions lately.  That’s because there aren’t any good negative predictions.  There are only negative negative predictions. That’s because there’s essentially nothing good about a negative prediction!  Negative predictions can only be negative. 

Pessimists, dissenters, prophets of doom.  Who needs them?  The defeatists of the world always begin with the same curse of negative predictions.  

“You’ll never succeed.”

“You’re too dumb to pass the test.”

“You’ll never win.”

“Don’t bother trying…you’ll only fail.”

OK, OK, breathe. Yes, some may use a negative prediction to take positive, protective steps forward, but sadly too many simply take cover and cower.

Jonathan Haidt in his book, “The Happiness Hypothesis” tells us, “Adversity may be necessary for growth because it forces you to stop speeding along the road of life, allowing you to notice the paths that were branching off all along, and to think about where you really want to end up.” This is exactly how those thriving through COVID-19 view the harsh conditions imposed on the world by this disease.

Unfortunately cynics and doubters don’t understand that their greatest obstacle is…you guessed it, their own negative predictions. That’s right. Their greatest obstacle is none other then themselves, their thinking. 

This burden of building dungeons in the air, of gloom and doom, of burning your bridges before you even get to them, can be crippling over the course of a lifetime.  Armed with the right attitude, however, you can undo this curse and live a better, more positive, joy-filled life.

James Whittaker, the first American to reach the summit of Mt. Everest, knew what it was like to deal with real, not imagined, rough spots.  Avalanches, dehydration, hypothermia, and the physical and mental fatigue caused by the lack of oxygen at 29,000 feet all stood before him and the top of the world’s highest mountain.  Most of those who dared to climb it before Whittaker had failed.  He succeeded.  He turned it around.

“You don’t really conquer such a mountain,” he said.  “You conquer yourself.  You overcome the sickness and everything else – your pain, aches, fears – to reach the summit.”

Ignoring, denying, or complaining about the rough spots leads to self-destruction.  Achievers use the rough spots to move to the next level.   

I recall many years ago in the Mel Brook’s movie, Blazing Saddles, one of the funniest movies ever made in my opinion, there was a scene that perfectly captures the nature of self-imposed burdens.  You may recall that the bad guys are chasing the good guys across the desert.  Of course, the bad guys are closing the gap.  The situation is desperate.  Finally, the good guys develop a plan.

What do they do?  Right in the middle of the desert, the good guys build a tollbooth. The toll is a nickel.  As the bad guys ride up to the toll, they realize they don’t have the nickel so they send one of their gang back to town to get the nickels they need to pass through.  In the meantime, the good guys get away. 

This is ridiculous, isn’t it?  Why do the bad guys stop in the first place?  Why?  Good question.  For the very same reason you probably do in your own life, that’s why.

How many people encounter “tollbooths” in their lives every day without ever questioning the validity of the darn obstacle?  Instead, they just stop and are immobilized. Or worse, they retreat to find what’s necessary to get past it.  

Do they ask, “Does the tollbooth have a right to be here?”  “Is there another way around it?”  “Why can’t I just ignore it?”  

Some people spend so much time preparing for imagined tollbooths, they just waste their lives away.

For them, running into adversity is horrible, terrible and awful.  For winners, it’s none of these. If at first you don’t succeed, you’re about average.  That’s because a well-adjusted person is one who makes the same mistake twice without getting nervous about it.  And the well-adjusted above average, success-oriented, person learns from the first mistake and doesn’t make it again.

Once I was playing a game with one of our grandchildren.  We couldn’t find the rules in the box.  He decided to make up his own rules. Great.  Only problem is, after about ten minutes, he became angry at the game, shouted he HATED the STUPID game he was losing, and insisted we stop playing immediately.

Fine.  Except one thing.  He made up the rules of the game! Why not just CHANGE them instead of making himself so angry?  This is the curse of negativity. This is the curse of living by self-created rules you don’t like. Self-imposed rules of life that you no longer like require only one sane response.  Change. You can change your own self-imposed rules if you don’t like the game you are in. 

Shad Helmstetter, Ph.D. observed in his 1982 book, “What to Say When You Talk to Yourself,” “Every thought we think, every conscious or unconscious thought we say to ourselves, is translated into electrical impulses which, in turn, direct the control centers in our brains to electrically and chemically affect and control every motion, every feeling, every action we take, every moment of every day.” Do you understand what you are doing to yourself, your life, by planting seeds of negative predictions?

Gilbert K. Gesterton said, “An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.” The link is what you think, how you consider life, so why consider what’s wrong, why populate your brain with negative considerations? The results you experience in life begin with the beliefs you program in your mind. Attitudes, feelings, actions all flow from the incline you create with your beliefs.

On June 22, 1986 Lee Iacocca said in a newspaper interview, “Most people are looking for security, a nice, safe prosperous future.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.  It’s called the American Dream.”  On the other hand, the American Nightmare is the fear of failure.  Iacocca said, “Fear of failure brings fear of taking risks…and you’re never going to get what you want out of life without taking some risks.  Remember, everything worthwhile carries risk of failure.”

So stamp out the curse of negative predictions, self-created rules that block your advancement, and negativity in general.  Replace it with good old-fashioned mental self-control.  You deserve it and everyone else around you does as well.

From accepting negative predictions to recognizing the need to change these, to deciding to do so and then actually doing so is a process. For some, it’s immediate. For others, it’s a lifelong journey. It all resides in your self-talk. Talk nicely…to yourself and to others.