Have you ever heard the term “toxic positivity”?
Birthed some time in the 2010s, the term toxic positivity brought to light how that sometimes a positive mindset isn’t appropriate. Not everything that lowers our self-esteem, mood, or motivation is solved with a can-do attitude. (People with chronic illnesses, I see you.)
Positivity is an important tool to combat doubts and analyse problems that crop up. It helps us balance our issues and stops us from spiralling into a pit of despair. However, it isn’t the solution to every issue and in some cases, it can hinder our progress.
For people who have depression and anxiety, learning that positivity is the key to success can be a heart-sinking experience. For neurotypical people, generating positivity can be as easy as making a cup of coffee and indulging in a few moments of mindfulness. It isn’t the case for everyone. All these popular articles and social media posts that tell us positivity will pave the way to success, are the product of people who can overuse positivity at times. Sometimes to their own detriment.
Here are a few reasons why positivity is not a magical key to unlocking the success you’ve been yearning for.
Down Days Are Sometimes More Productive
Very often, my least productive days are the days I am excited and brimming with motivation and positivity. I get easily distracted, my energy pulling me in all sorts of directions which makes it difficult to channel. Some of my best days are the days after I couldn’t sleep, so stayed up playing video games until 3am.
Positivity can sometimes, not always, lead to distraction. Some days you need calm, collection and focus as your allies. Sometimes one will do, sometimes all three appear at once like a four leaf clover. From time to time, letting your non-positive mood play out can give you a day that you’ll look back on and feel mighty accomplished.
Variety Of Emotion Means Variety Of Experiences
24/7 positivity, if it’s even possible, would lead to a fairly one-dimensional life experience. From an Anxious Author perspective, how can you hope to encapsulate all your characters’ moods and experiences without having your own variety of emotion to draw from?
We are human beings, and not designed for perpetual positivity. Allowing our natural progression of feelings and thought processes, stopping every once in a while to challenge them and redirect ourselves, is not only healthy, but productive. Our lives will fill with colour if we allow ourselves to feel diversely, and that is surely one of the things that feeds success.
Strategy Is More Important
Let’s be honest, if we spent all day sitting in a stew of positive thoughts, rainbows and unicorns, what would we have done? Sat all day and achieved nothing, even if we felt marvellous the entire time. Success requires a lot more than a positive outlook: time, research and just a pinch of realism.
We will not get anywhere jumping into a new venture on good vibes alone. Understanding what we need to learn to move forwards, learning it and creating a strategy for next stages are what pave the way to scaling up our ventures. Learning to assess our situations realistically and think strategically, as far as I am concerned, go much further than a cookie-cutter can-do attitude.
Of course, a good dose of positivity can help in many situations. It fuels our motivation and makes us feel energised. But to give it credit for all of our success is just taking credit away from all the hard work we put in. At the end of the day, the elbow grease matters more.
Thanks for reading! Did you know I also write urban fantasy books? Check them out here!