“You cannot hang out with negative people and expect to live a positive life.” – Joel Osteen

Overall I’m a very positive person. Even though I basically go through life with my shields up so that I don’t lose my mind if I hear or see something that assaults my sensibilities, I’m lucky that it’s not because these events happen all the time.

Positivity.
MartaZ* via Compfight

I’m the most encouraging person in the world when it comes to helping people attain their dreams. I’m one of those people who believes wholeheartedly that if people are willing to work for it that they can do anything. The last thing I’m going to do is tell people anything different, and if I can help I will.

That is… unless it’s kind of a ridiculous dream, or not well thought out.

I often use the example of a person who’s 5’4″ tall and their dream is to be the starting center for the Los Angeles Lakers. In a case like that, there’s no amount of work or dreaming that’s going to get anyone that particular dream. It’s a goal that’s less than a pipe dream; let’s throw that one out now.

I have another friend, Rasheed, who’s known to beat down this belief that one needs to have great plans to achieve great things. He was the subject of my most popular blog post ever when I featured him in an article titled Dream It And It Will Come.

His was a fascinating tale; he decided he wanted to take 4 months to travel across the country, visiting 44 states to meet people in person that he’d met on social media. He didn’t initially have much of a plan because he had to finance it, but believed that something would come his way. And it did… but you’re going to have to read that other article to see the rest of the story.

What I didn’t write in that article was his next goal… to climb Mt. Everest. Seeing that he’s a few years older than me and had never climbed a mountain, I have to say this one I approached with a lot of skepticism. After all, I’m now 56, but at the time I was 53. Climbing mountains is way out of the realm of my mind’s thought, no matter how much walking I’ve gotten used to. And as much as Rasheed has done in his life, this kind of physical undertaking… nope, I wasn’t seeing it.

However, instead of saying outright “No, get it off your mind and find something else”, what I did instead was offer my little bits of advice. This isn’t one of those times where I needed to know something more about mountain climbing than I did to give it. I knew something about getting in shape, pain, and age; that was enough.

My suggestion was to find something a little smaller as a challenge, spend some time getting physically ready for it, and try that first. There are some projects that it’s best to work one’s way up to. This is a lesson I learn at least once a week, which brings my wife either moments of laughter or shaking of the head.

I don’t know if it was my advice he took or if it had already been planned, but he did just that very thing. As I wrote in a post after reviewing his book Life: It’s A Trip, he got himself into some kind of shape and climbed something called Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas at 8,751 feet. It took him quite a few attempts before he got up there, but eventually he made it. He also learned some valuable lessons along the way. Truthfully, I’m not sure if he’s still got it in his mind to make the climb up Everest, but either way, at least I did my part… whether it was me or him that was the catalyst.

In my mind, we all know truly negative people. Those are the folks who seem to find happiness in misery and don’t mind taking us there with them. Those are the folks we eventually regret wanting to be around and regretting that we feel that way.

We also know people who are only trying to help. Sometimes those lines get blurred depending on the mental state of the receiving person at the time. For instance, I’ve read numerous blogs written by people talking about their depression, and how it bothers them when people offer advice or try to help. It’s hard not to try to say something positive to those folks; trust me, there are times I can’t stop myself.

Intentions have to be taken into account though, at least if you’re the person potentially being accused of negativity. If you start to agree that your behavior was negative, you’ll start feeling negative; that won’t help. Instead, you need to know that your intentions were pure and, if you didn’t step on someone’s dreams that, no matter how wild they might seem, were still possible, then you should feel positive about yourself. If you have to get away from the negativity for a while, it makes sense to do so.

However, if you’re 53 and your life’s goal is to play at Carnegie Hall one day and you’ve never taken a lesson… sorry but I’m going to be the one telling you “no”. You don’t have to listen to me but trust me, it’s good advice. 🙂
 

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