Saturday, June 6, 2009

On Positive Thinking

Two news items have been highlighted in the Israeli press, seemingly unrelated: the first one is Obama's speech in Egypt addressing the middle east people, and the second one is about Dudu Topaz, a famous Israeli entertainer, who was arrested by sending hired people to beat quite hard some senior people in the Israeli media. In the speech that the U.S. president has given earlier this week he addressed the people of this region and called upon them to exercise positive thinking and overcome the differences, to get a permanent settlement. I would say that he called upon the people to desert the "zero sum game" and move to "cooperative game". Some people around me say that this message is very naive, and asserting that since the other side has negative attitude then positive attitude is useless. It is always easier to unite people around negative messages, and indeed the current government of Israel has been elected using negative messages that the people through the collective wisdom of democracy decided to endorse. The other side is not innocent either, generation of children are educated on negative messages of hate. I very much support Obama's call for positive thinking, it will not be easy for people to think that way, after a lifetime of negative thinking, but IMHO this should be the way forward.

The other piece of news was somewhat surprising to most, as written, a famous Israeli entertainer, who was in the past the "king of rating" in commercial TV, hosting a popular show (whom I have never watched). A few years ago, after some embarrassing incidents that he was involved in, the commercial TV stations decided not to hire him anymore, a person like him who felt like a king, with a huge ego, could not stand the humiliation and frustration in repeating rejections and hired some bullies to beat some people hard (they needed hospital treatment and surgeries to undo damages) - one of them was CEO of one of the commercial TV stations, and the other was a program manager of another commercial TV station (the fact that she is a woman did not matter to him), the third was the artist's own agent that did not succeed to take care of him, and the police found in his house plans about several other people. This is an extreme type of negative thinking, but it worthwhile writing something about it. It happens to many people that one day they are stepping out of some position, or some circumstances change, and suddenly they are out of their previous power anymore, some people are going on and doing other things, but some stay on the sideways of the court in which they played before, and feel very frustrated by the fact that they are not the players anymore, since they are convinced that they would have played much better. This lead people to invest a lot of energy in negative thinking and negative actions. Dudu Topaz is an extreme case, but I have seen and am seeing various such cases of investing energy on negative thinking.

I can certainly understand frustration, the wheel is spinning, and as many people, I have been some time up and some time down, but early in my life I decided that positive thinking is much better attitude to life, and looking back is not really a good policy, remembering what happened to Lot's wife when she looked back. Although like any human, I am sometimes tempted to have negative reactions, which mostly proven to be the wrong ones.

I have written in the past about positive thinking in Blog posting, but it is true for other activities as well.

In early stage of my life I have read the poem "IF" by Rudyard Kipling (in Hebrew translation) and felt that this is not just written words, this is a code of behavior that I should adopt. I have returned to cite Kipling from time to time, when I am thinking on a way to behave in extreme situation. I have copied Kipling's poem below his picture.

If (R. Kipling)
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!

Back to professional postings -- soon.


harvey said...

Very refreshing, thank you!

Anonymous said...

Hi Opher,
This one is too good.
Please make this kind of break more often.
CAC Japan

PatternStorm said...


Hope you are doing well my friend.



Hans said...

I also was energized by this post, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Good post on positive thinking.

karim - Positive thinking

Pull Your Ex Back said...

I am a big believer in positive thinking! It really can work miracles!