How is being positive better than not being positive?
What benefits does being positive bring when the future remains uncertain and uncontrollable?
With such and similar questions been thrown at me, because I not only remain positive but also profess my faith in positivity, I was unable to find a way to explain the benefits of being positive - other than anything that definitely sounded like a cliché.
When I came across Pascal's Wager (briefly explained at the end of this article), I realised I needed to make something similar of my own, and show it to non-believers of positivity that it pays-off to remain positive.
I present Mudit's wager: Remain Positive. This I represent as:
Our worry is related to future, it is hardly ever about the present and almost never about the past. We fear whether our future will be desirable or not. It is for the future that I ask you to wager for remaining positive. Let's understand this:
Either I will remain positive or I will not. This is plotted on the x-axis (horizontally). Either my future will turn out desirable or it will not. This has been plotted on the y-axis (vertically).
Quadrant D denotes the scenario where I decided that I will not remain positive, and my future will not turn out desirable. I call this "Doom and Gloom".
If we were not positive and the future doesn't turn out desirable, our worst fears have come true. This scenario adds doom to gloom. There is nothing good that could come out of this...we cannot turn around this scenario remaining not-positive. Helplessly, we start buying lottery tickets and hope luck supports us for once at-least!
Quadrant A denotes the scenario where I decided that I will not remain positive, but my future will turn out desirable. I call this "Winning a Lottery".
When we are not positive in our thoughts and actions, yet the future turning out desirable is like winning a lottery. The ticket we had bought in Quadrant D comes handy here. But...not only is this very difficult to repeat by our own efforts, but also the winnings are not sustainable. Thus - if we win this lottery of getting a desirable future while remaining not positive, it is likely that we will neither continue to enjoy desirable future being not positive, nor manage to change our life for the better in the long-term. Just as quickly as this desirable future appears, we will start worrying about the next uncertain future-date / future-year / future-period. Leaving very little for us to enjoy the lottery-winnings.
Quadrant C denotes the scenario where I decided that I will remain positive, but my future will not turn out desirable. I call this "Will Strive Harder".
If despite remaining positive, our future turns out not desirable it is still painful and difficult...no doubt. However, we have our positivity to lean back on to tell ourself that we will strive harder to turn things around. We start looking for previously unexplored or even unorthodox solutions, but we will not give up...we will not submit to the gloom that has temporarily engulfed us.
Quadrant B denotes the scenario where I decided that I will remain positive, and my future turns out desirable. I call this "Win-win, Pay Day".
When we are positive and our future turns out desirable, we find the sweet-spot where we can finally pat ourselves on the back - be proud, be happy and be satisfied. We take a moment for ourselves, enjoy our hard earned pay-day and get back to work for the next uncertain future-date / future-year / future-period.
The discussion is not about how to remain positive, but the benefits of remaining positive. Since future largely continues to be outside our direct control (we can influence the future outcomes, but we definitely don't control them), the only thing we can control is how our outlook and attitude remain: positive or not-positive.
By not remaining positive either we hope to win lottery or worse face doom and gloom. However, by remaining positive we either continue to have the will to strive hard, find our way out of the gloom or we find a win-win situation and enjoy our well earned pay-day. At the very least, we can try to move from Quadrant A to Quadrant B and from Quadrant D to Quadrant C.
I, therefore, urge you to wager for remaining positive in the game of future life!
Pascal (1623-1662), wore many hats ranging from being a mathematician & physicist to a writer & Catholic theologian. He believed there was no reasonable manner to prove existence of God, but we should still believe in Him.
Broadly, he suggested that if we don't believe in God, but we eventually find out that God exists - we go to Hell (some version of it). If we don't believe in God and it turns out that there is no God, well - no misery befalls us.
On the other hand, if we believe in God and God exists then we go to Heaven (some version of it). If we believe in God and God doesn't exist, once again there is no loss for us.
Essentially, as per Pascal, believing in God could either lead to some version of Heaven or bring no loss. Whereas, not believing in God could either bring no loss or worse, lead to some version of Hell. Basis this, Pascal is said to have suggested it is better to wager for God to exist and to believe in Him. This was his way of saying, better to play it safe than be sorry later.