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The weight of negativity

Generally speaking, people are intrigued when they find out what we do. And sceptical. “Oh, the science of happiness?” they say, often a little nonplussed “Is that actually a real science?”

And I’ve learned to bamboozle people with the reply, “Do you think the study of depression is a real science? You know, psychiatry, counselling, Prozac, that kind of thing?” And when their heads are nodding and their brains muddled I smile and say “Well we study the exact opposite of that.”

Positivity and negativity are habits. Unfortunately, due to evolutionary reasons (too much to explain in a blog which is why, ahem, we write awesome best-selling books) humans are naturally pre-disposed to be negative. We can give you all sorts of medical and neurological examples but, in true Art of Brilliance style, here is the human proclivity for negativity, summed up in a story…

It’s a blustery day by the seaside. A loving mother is walking along the promenade holding hands with her gorgeous four-year-old son when, whoosh, from out of nowhere, a rogue wave crashes over the barrier and washes the little lad out to sea.

Can you image how she must have felt at that moment? Her son was taken from her! She stood, mouth gaping at the wild froth.

Then suddenly another wave crashed over the promenade and, as it retreated, there was her son. He was dripping but unhurt. Most importantly, he was alive!

The bedraggled lad gently reached out and gripped his mother’s hand. She looked down at her sea-soaked son’s smiling face and thought, “F****** hell, where’s his b***** hat gone?”

Andy C

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