Perceiving problems as problems is the problem.

Positivity is a practical approach to solve every problem.  Pathological Positivity is not ignoring or avoiding reality, but intentionally and doggedly insisting on seeing possibilities in problems and finding or creating constructive tools to handle inevitable challenges.

Imagine hearing a big commotion in your front yard. You open your door to see that I have just dumped a whole truckload of bricks on your front lawn. Clouds of dust screen my quick getaway.

Watch your language. I don’t mean merely to refrain from cursing my name. I mean watch the language that happens inside your own mind, and choose that which serves you best.


Noxious negativity:  “Look what happened to me – poor me!”

Good:  “This is neither good nor bad, stuff happens.”

Better:  “What am I going to do about this?”

Pathological Positivity:  “What am I going to do with this?”


Noxious negativity:  “I don’t deserve this! Paul is an idiot. Stuff like this always happens to me. I hate my life.”

Good:  “Hmmm… Paul just dumped a load of bricks on my front lawn. Didn’t expect that today. That’s interesting.”

Better:  “I’m going to call Paul and see what he was thinking. Maybe we can get this cleared up.”

Pathological Positivity:  “Bricks! Sweet. Now I can get those flower boxes made for the garden out back.”


Pathological Positivity suggests that everything dumped on you could be construction materials.

What am I going to do with this?


A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

– Winston Churchill

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Alan says:

    Lately here in Mongolia I have encountered a number of problems. Your post was very timing and helpful.

  • Kathryn Spencer says:

    This is absolutely awesome! I wish I would have read it yesterday when in the depths of despair. How can I take whatever comes my way, use it as a tool, look at it as an open door, an opportunity not a curse.

  • Jonathan says:

    This is positively perfect. I love the starting sentence, “Perceiving problems as problems is the problem.”

  • Stephen Sellaro says:

    Agreed, everything takes energy. I always say “it takes energy to cry over spilt milk” or in this case bricks. When your done crying you still have to clean it up, which takes up more energy. Don’t waste or misuse energy.

    Awesome Message.