“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.” –attributed to the Dalai Lama XIV
Bzzzzzzz. We all know this sound. We all know the nightmares and suffering it can produce during our much-needed and desired sleep. We all know when this creature is approaching. Its revealing buzz, simply unstoppable and greatly feared by us. This amazing little creature is even more amazing than we think. Its simplicity can teach us more than what we could ever have imagined…
“It is very hard to be brave,” said Piglet, sniffing slightly, “when you’re only a Very Small Animal.”
Rabbit, who had begun to write very busily, looked up and said: “It is because you are a very small animal that you will be Useful in the adventure before us.”
–Benjamin Hoff, The Te Of Piglet
1. Never Give Up
What a cliché. Never give up. It is one of those life tips that we find in almost every life guide. Far from being useless, it is surely a must. Mosquitoes get this idea pretty well. They can simply pass all night trying to get into our ear, or trying to suck all of our blood. If a pea-sized creature can give its maximum effort, why can’t we? We should at least be able to put up with a mosquito. We can always go farther, and when it comes to our dreams and passions, never giving up is the key to achieving these.Advertising
Never forget that refusing to give up is a way of seeing life. It is about learning that, even though life is supposed to flow, part of this beautiful experience is building the momentum and going for it! Just as Thomas A. Edison said, “Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results. I know several thousand things that won’t work”.
2. Don’t Underestimate
We tend to underestimate things for their appearance. Size, for example, is one of those misleading qualities. We might think that because something or someone is small, it is powerless and inferior, like an ant or a mosquito. Did you know that an ant can hold more than 100 times its own weight? Or that mosquitoes are the deadliest animals on the planet?
Underestimating someone’s abilities because of their appearance is just insanely misleading and counterproductive. Like the example of the ant and the mosquito, we find countless instances of underestimation in life, such as underestimating the ability of your mom to help you with your love problems. If we want to flow in life, we should acknowledge people for their inner qualities and not for their exterior appearance or the first impression they give. Just as Toba Beta said: “Don’t belittle anyone who you don’t recognize. Don’t be fooled by anybody who underrates you”.
Ultimately, there will be times when we can´t beat the mosquitoes. Sometimes they are just too fast and somehow too powerful. It is a fight between the mosquito and our will for sleeping. It is then we have to learn to accept, which is one of the only ways to really win over mosquitoes, or to manage life’s casualties without painful attachments.Advertising
Accepting is one of Buddha´s life lessons, which certainly give us the key for flowing in life and managing life’s craziness. It is easier to flow with the water current than to resist it. Accepting is learning to let go, to be with the experience and don’t fight it. Sometimes in life we find something we call Reverse effort. As Alan Watts once wrote: “When you try to stay on the surface of the water, you sink; but when you try to sink you float. Whosoever would save his soul shall lose it”.
4. Don’t Fear Taking Risks
Mosquitoes take this too far, yet they teach us that taking a risk is worth it. For them, taking a risk is ultimately necessary, for it is one of their ways to get their food. Mosquitoes take the risk of fighting with an animal which is enormously much bigger than them. They don’t even try too hard to go all in, they just do it, and even try to get into our brains! How courageous is that?
Risk-taking is one of those much-feared things. It is totally natural, for breaking out of our comfort zone is hard and takes boldness. Yet risk-taking is certainly the best way to learn, experience, and do the undone. We humans are instinctively adventurous and committed, just like any other being. This is what has led us to thrive, evolve, and advance. Let’s go with our intuition and instinct and use our abilities to fulfill our dreams and passions. Just as Albert Einstein said: “A ship is always safe at the shore—but that is NOT what it is built for”.
We are part of this universe, this world, this reality. This is something we have forgotten. We are part of it, rather than, owners of it, which is what we usually think. Even though we might think that the former is not true, our actions say the contrary. The way we abuse the natural world, other beings, and even our own species, proves that we want to conquer rather than share and live as a whole.Advertising
Mosquitoes teach us that sharing is necessary for living, for space and resources are a need of all. Mosquitoes have equal right to live and be here. They been here longer than us, for about 170 million years already! If we learn to share not only space and resources, but love, kindness, help, food, time, and attention, our social life skills will get a boost.
Everyone loves to share with a gentle, sharing, and respectful person. And not only that, the well-being and satisfaction you feel from living interconnected with all beings and sharing with others is priceless and nameless. Just as Snoop Dogg said: “It ain’t no fun if the homies can’t have none”.
6. Be Humble
Yes, we are advanced; yes, we have a lot of money; yes, we have big houses, cars, buildings, and guns. Yes, we have complex minds, prodigy pianists, violinists… Yes, a mosquito drives us insane. Yes, we can´t control the weather. Yes, we are powerless in front of an angry volcano, a furious tornado, a violent tsunami.
We are not the most powerful, nor invincible, nor infinite. We are mortal just as any other being. We are in a continuous process of evolution and thriving. Life is beautiful. We are here to coexist rather than to oppress or repress. Mosquitoes teach us this simply and easily by demonstrating to us that in a room, in the forest, or anywhere, we are almost powerless in front of them, and if we have insect repellent, we are powerful for a couple of hours just to return to our normal, ordinary, human state.Advertising
Life is much more enjoyable when we live together and share together. There is no need to show superiority over others. If we ever have the idea that we are superior and invincible, certainly life will take the task of showing us the contrary. Just as Thomas Henry Huxley said: “Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses nature leads, or you shall learn nothing. I have only begun to learn content and peace of mind since I have resolved at all risks to do this. ”Good things come when we are open to live! Go out and live life! Listen to the mosquitoes and their wise bzzzzzzz!
Featured photo credit: Mosquitos resting on overblown flower via shutterstock.com
Last Updated on July 13, 2020
9 Simple Ways to Always Stay Positive
It’s common to be struck with a bout of pessimism, or to naturally be more towards the pessimistic end of the perspective spectrum. It’s hard to see the positives in life and become an optimist when you’re lost in the murky waters of negative thinking.
However, Henrik Edberg, the founder of The Positivity Blog is here to share nine ways we can create a more optimistic outlook and positive perspective:
“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” — Maria Robinson
When I was younger — in my teens and early 20s — I was trapped. Not physically, but mentally: by the destructive thought pattern called pessimism. This negative thinking poisoned what might have been a pretty good and opportunity-filled childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. This pessimism created ceilings and walls where there really were none.
Throughout the period when I was ridden by pessimism, my life and I mostly stood still. Looking back, it was a terrible waste. If you are in pessimistic place, you don’t have to stay there for the rest of your life. I didn’t, for I learned to replace my negative thinking with optimism.
In this article I’ll explore nine positivity habits that have helped me to go from someone who was pessimistic most of the time to someone who is now optimistic almost all the time. I recommend to not try to add all the habits at one go but to choose one habit and to practice it for 30 days so it becomes a habit, before adding the next.
1. Ask Yourself the Right Questions
This is the simplest but perhaps also the most important habit I have discovered in adopting an optimistic mindset. The questions we ask ourselves day in and day out when we wind up in negative, difficult or uncertain situations make all the difference in our life.
A pessimist might ask him/herself questions like:
- “Why did this happen to me?”
- “Why do bad things happen to me all the time?”
But an optimist asks him/herself the questions that open up the mind to new viewpoints and possibilities. A few of my favorite questions for finding the optimistic perspective are:
- “What is one good thing about this situation?”
- “What can I learn from this situation?”
- “What is one small step I can take today to start solving this situation?”
2. Create a Positive Environment to Live In
The people you spend your time with and the information you let influence your mind will have a huge effect on your attitude and how you think about things.
Watch this YouTube video and learn the power of a positive environment:
So choose to:
- Spend more time with the people who lift you up. And less time – or no time – with people who just bring you down by being negative and critical. Read: You are the Average of the 5 People You Spend the Most Time With
- Let in the information that supports you. Spend less time on negative and self-esteem damaging media sources and spend more time reading positive and constructive blogs and books, watching motivating movies, listening to inspirational songs, and listening to audio books and podcasts created by optimistic people. Check out 12 Inspirational Movies With Important Life Lessons To Learn and 25 Most Inspirational Songs of All Time.
3. Be Grateful for What You Have (Don’t Forget About Yourself Too)
A very simple and quick way to boost the positive energy in your life is to tap into gratitude.
I usually do it by asking one or more of these questions:
- What can I be grateful for in my life today?
- Who are 3 people that I can be grateful to have in my life and why?
- What are 3 things I can be grateful for about myself?
Just spend 60 seconds or a few minutes during your day with answering one of these questions to reap the wonderful benefits.
4. Don’t Forget About Your Physical Self
Being an optimist isn’t just about thinking in a different way. It is also about caring for the physical part of ourselves.
I have found that working out a couple of times a week, enough quality sleep each night and eating healthy food has a huge effect on my mindset.
If I mismanage those very basic things then negative thoughts pop up far more often and I become more pessimistic and shut down about the possibilities in my life.
So don’t neglect these basic fundamentals. Just caring for your physical self the right way can minimize a whole bunch of problems in life.
5. Start Your Day in an Optimistic Way
The way you start your morning can set the tone for the rest of your day. For example, a stress-free morning often leads to less stress during the rest of the day.
So how can you set an optimistic tone for your day?
A three-step combination that has worked very well for me is to ask myself a gratitude question during breakfast, read some positive information online or in a book very early in the morning and then follow that up with exercising.
This sets my mind on the right path and fills me up with energy for my day.
6. Focus on Solutions
A sure way to feel more negative about a situation is to sit around and do nothing about it. Instead, use the questions I shared in step one and open up your mind to the possibilities of the situation you are in.
If you have trouble to get started with taking action, ask yourself:
What is one small step I can take today to get the ball rolling?
Then take that small step forward. However small this step is, it can have a big effect in your mood and thoughts. If the step feels too big or it just makes you procrastinate, then ask yourself:
What is an even smaller step I can take to move forward today?
The most important thing is to move forward, even if it’s a tiny baby step.
7. Reduce Your Worries
The worrying habit is a powerful and destructive one and can take over anyone’s thinking. It used to be one of my biggest obstacles to optimism and to moving forward in life.
Two effective steps that have helped me and still help me to this day to minimize the worries are:
- Ask yourself: how many of my worries ever happened in reality? If you are like me you will find that the answer is: very few. Most of the things you fear throughout your life will never happen. They are just nightmares or monsters in your own mind. This question can help you to do a reality check, to calm down and to realize that you have most likely just been building another imaginary nightmare.
- Focus on solutions and the action you can take. The worries grow stronger in a foggy mind and an inactive body. So use the questions in Steps 1 and 6 to move out of your worries and into resolution.
8. Don’t Let Ideals Ruin Things
A common mistake people make when making a shift in their attitudes is that they think that they have be perfect and do things perfectly all the time. This traps them from being positive.
Changing to a positive attitude can be gradual. While you may slip and stumble, continuing this way over time will strengthen your positive viewpoint more and more.
But if you set an inhuman standard for yourself and think you have to go from being a pessimist to always being an optimist, then you may find it hard to live up to that. And so you may feel like a failure. You get angry with yourself. And you may even give up on changing this habit and fall back into negative thinking.
So instead, focus on gradual change. If you are optimistic 40% of the time right now, try to improve this to being optimistic 60% of the time. Then, increase that to 80% when you are used to the new standard, then subsequently 100% if you can.
This focus on gradual improvement is far more sustainable and likely to bring long-term success than trying to reach an inhuman standard grounded in perfection.
9. Finally, a Reminder to Help You to Not Give Up
I would like to end this article with a simple but powerful and timeless thought that comforted and encouraged me to continue on when things looked bleak.
That thought is: It is always darkest before the dawn.
This thought has helped me to hold on and keep going when my social skills and dating life was just plain bad. It has helped me to continue on in my online business when things looked like they would never pick up. It has helped me to put one foot over another even when things looked dark.
I have found this thought to be very true. Why? Because when things seemed to be at the lowest for my blog, business, dating life or life in general, something positive would always happened. That’s probably because being at a low point forced me to change how I did things.
But maybe also because life has a way of evening itself out when I go on. By taking action rather than give up, something good will always happens.
Seeing this thought live itself out has strengthened my belief in staying optimistic, in taking action and to keep going even when going through rough patches.
Re-syndicated 9 Simple Habits to Stay Positive in Life | Personal Excellence
More on Staying Positive
- 5 Steps to Cultivate a Positive Mental Attitude
- How to Think Positive Thoughts When Feeling Negative
- 15 Ways to Practice Positive Self-Talk for Success
Featured photo credit: Allie Smith via unsplash.com