Been Thinking About Thinking Positively

Think Positive

Wow, positive thinking is such a powerful thing isn’t it? It’s pretty insane how simply having a positive outlook can change your life, and the great thing about it is that optimism is inspirational and contagious.  It’s definitely not always easy to see the silver lining or to keep your chin up when things seem to be working against you, but when you do you’re that much closer to righting whatever may seem to be going wrong.  And the first really amazing thing about thinking positively is that you’ll probably start to notice that there really is less and less that seems to be “going wrong” in the first place.

It’s without a doubt much easier to feel sorry for ourselves and to complain about the little things that bother us, to get upset at the people that think differently than we do, and to feel like the world is out to get us because we aren’t receiving some type of benefit 24/7, but this type of negativity and thinking tends to cause us to feel upset, sad, neglected, and just generally pretty bummed out.  It sucks the wind out of our sails, stems into anger, leads to a lack of motivation… it is a skuzz on top of the beautiful picture that is the world we live in.

Now before we get too ahead of ourselves, it’s obviously impossible to be chipper and excited every waking moment of every day, and there are definitely times when we need to let ourselves feel the very natural emotions that are anger, sadness, mourning, indignation, etc.  None of these things in and of themselves are inherently negative or bad things to feel. They all have their place, and neglecting to feel these things is a disservice to yourself and anybody else that really is not in the mood to hear some “glass half full” cliché.  Sometimes all people need from us is for us to listen and empathize with them, not for us to depreciate or belittle their pain with some “everything happens for a reason” or “it’ll get easier over time” type bullshit.

That being said, each and every one of us will experience adversity.  Each and every one of us will experience loss.  Each and every one of us will face obstacles and challenges as we go through life, and the way we react to these challenges and obstacles is important, and being able to bounce back from these challenges comes down to the way we perceive them and the way we perceive ourselves. We have to remind ourselves that we can accomplish whatever it is we want to accomplish.  We have to remind ourselves that despite whatever loss we might face, or whatever pain we may experience that there is still plenty of living to do and life to enjoy and to celebrate!  There doesn’t necessarily have to be a silver lining, there just has to be a willpower to keep on keeping on and a willingness to make the most out of whatever situation you find yourself in.

Now, I won’t take this positive thinking thing as far “The Law of Attraction” takes it, which basically says that whatever we think about will come to be.  I don’t think that our thoughts emit frequencies that literally attract, like a magnet, what we are thinking about into our lives, but I do think that being optimistic gets us that much closer to what we want for ourselves.  Not by magic; not by thinking into existence our hearts desires, but by having a confidence and a belief that you can create the life for yourself that you want.  There are plenty of people who will discourage you from pursuing your true ambitions, and it is disheartening.  There are so many people that tell me I won’t ever take my trip around the world with my friend after we graduate from college because of how expensive it is, because of how hard they think it is, because of how unrealistic it may seem TO THEM, but it is one of the only things I am absolutely certain I want to do, and I will.  Now, I recognize that it won’t be easy, and that it will require a lot of hard work and planning, and research, and motivation, but I refuse to let other people’s negativity affect my aspirations, and that means I’m one step closer to seeing the world.

Dont Let Anyone Else Hold The Pen

If you begin to think negatively about yourself, your capabilities, your aspirations or your current situation you’re taking steps in the wrong direction.

Perhaps you don’t have any burning desires or are content to keep living life the way you are now.  Then what?  Well, I still say that positive thinking is the way to go.  Nobody likes to be around someone who is constantly shooting them down, complaining, and bumming them out when they are trying to have a good time.  More than likely we’ve found ourselves in a situation where someone we are hanging out with can’t seem to stop talking about all the drama going on in their life, and how the whole world seems to be out to get them, and that manages to blow everything way out of proportion.  Nothing is a bigger buzz-kill than someone who can’t ever seem to say something positive.  Don’t be that person! You will find yourself attracting more and more people and having better and better experiences when you make it a point to have a good time, to be happy, and to enjoy the moment even when things aren’t going great.

On a larger scale, if you begin to see the world for all its grandeur despite the challenges you may face and the atrocities that are ongoing in the world you will find yourself enjoying life more and getting more out of it than you thought possible.  Recognize that there is an entire world to experience, that there are amazing people doing amazing things, and amazing things taking place every day, and recognize that you CAN be a part of it.

I AM NOT SAYING TURN A BLIND EYE TO EVERYTHING THAT IS WRONG IN THE WORLD, BUT RECOGNIZE THAT THERE IS BEAUTY IN SEEKING TO BETTER IT.

The people who are dissatisfied in life are those who focus on the ugly in the world rather than the rest of it.  The people who are unhappy are those who don’t believe they can change their circumstances.  The people who are angry in life are the people who see it as always working against them.  They are the people who are uninspired, disheartened….  So remember, optimism is contagious, especially when it is  manifested in your everyday actions.  Don’t be afraid to rock a smile for no reason.  Give thanks with sincerity, be willing to give help when it’s needed, be positive.

I mentioned earlier that it’s important not to doubt yourself, and to have a belief and confidence in yourself.  I know as a relatively shy person myself that confidence can be hard to build up and doesn’t always come naturally, and it took me a while to become confident in who I am and what I believe.  And I can say in all honesty that the biggest contributor to gaining confidence is to think positively.  Not about yourself necessarily, but about the situations you’re in, no matter how uncomfortable they may be, and by being thankful for what you have in life rather than thinking about the life you wish you had, and by acknowledging the good in other people rather than focusing on why they annoy you.  As you make it a habit to make the best out of situations and to see the best in people, you will begin to emulate and radiate the positivity you see around you.  And as you become happier with who you are, you become more confident in who you are.

Again, it’s impossible to be positive every second and in every situation, and that is ok, and you should not be dishonest with yourself when you feel the weight of life’s burdens, but I promise you the weight will feel lighter if you think it is. -JG

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Been Thinking About Stress Lately.


Wow, it sure is easy to sweat the small stuff isn’t it!  I’m writing this one as it comes to me, no planning ahead, so we’ll see where this winds up by the end.  Hopefully I can keep it mostly on track.  Anyway, I’ve been thinking about stress lately.

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in my life is how to recognize when I am stressing myself out to the point of it being unhealthy, and how to relax.  Before I go any further, let me give you a little background about myself and my family, so that you understand where I’m coming from.

My dad was born and raised in Olavarría, Argentina.  His family had very, very little, and they knew the true meaning of hunger.  Once he had completed grade seven, which was all that was required at the time, he quit school and began working to help out his mother, brothers and sister.  At sixteen years old, he began building the home that my grandmother still lives in to this day.  By the time he was a young adult in his twenties, he owned his own model A, and had what to him, was quite a large amount of money in the bank. Hyperinflation in Argentina was cruel, and stole away nearly all of what he had in the bank. He was in his twenties when he met my mother, who had come to Argentina with her sister and several others on an extended missions trip, and after a couple of years got married, and eventually moved to the United States to be near my maternal grandparents.

Upon moving to the United States, he had to learn English as a second language, and got a job at a mushroom farm, getting paid just cents for an extraordinary amount of work.  Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked, so let’s fast-forward to many, many years later.  My father started his own business, was able to build our family our own beautiful home, see four of his sons through college as first generation college students,(one through med school) and the fifth to have his own business.

As neither one of my parents had completed college, and have had to work extremely hard to support us 5 boys, they instilled in us an incredible work ethic, and stressed the importance of doing well in school.  There has been the expectation my whole life to achieve A’s in all of my courses, and to be disappointed with anything less.  And as the youngest, I always felt the need to follow in brother’s footsteps, (one who graduated Summa Kum Laude from a private university and another who was granted a 4 summer Internship with Hewlett-Packard before beginning his freshman year of college) and I can tell you, trying to follow in those footsteps after nearly 16 years of school is exhausting and overwhelmingly stressful!

The beautiful thing about growing up, is discovering that you don’t have to be like anybody else.  The beautiful thing about growing up is recognizing your own skills, abilities, and your own accomplishments.  The beautiful thing about growing up is that you grow into your own person.

Now, I’ve managed to do well for myself school, and I’ve maintained a cumulative GPA upwards of 3.8 with just a couple quarters left to survive till graduation, but I did so mostly because there has always been the expectation, in my mind, to do so.  And I wish I had realized much sooner than I did that I have been stressing far too much, about far too little, for far too long.

For a long time I thought that doing well in school was the key to doing well in life.  I think in our society we are sort of indoctrinated to think this way (see my post on happiness), and although it can be a great motivator, it can also cripple you with anxiety if you are unable to manage stress well.

Once you realize that one bad test score is not the end of the world, and that you’ll probably forget about it a few months down the road, it is SO MUCH EASIER to relax. Stress Memory

In fact, once you realize that there are people who are perfectly happy who DIDN’T EVEN GO TO COLLEGE, you will find yourself SO much more at ease.  Now most of this post has related stress to school because it’s what I can relate to. Let’s talk about it more generally.

If I could give anyone advice on how to manage stress it would be this:

  1. Remember to see the big picture! Ask yourself what is worth stressing about, and what you will laugh at yourself for stressing about down the road.
  2. Managing your time is important.  “Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?” is probably not the best mantra to live by.
  3. Know when to stop doing what you’re doing, and just get to sleep. Be able to recognize when you are stressing yourself out to the point where you are doing more harm than good.  You’re probably better off getting a good night’s sleep than worrying about whatever you’re worrying about.
  4. Stress is inevitable.  If you relax too much now, you’re probably going to be freaking out later. Keeping all of the other pieces of advice in mind, sometimes you just have to keep your nose to the grindstone.

Number 1 has been the most eye-opening thing for me, granted I have a lot of road ahead of me, so we’ll see how that pans out…  Regardless, today I am much more laidback and easygoing than I once was, and overall just much happier and content with myself.  And I can honestly attribute this to being able to recognize what is worth stressing about and what is really just not worth it.

This guy has some more advice on dealing with stress. He also juggles, it’s pretty rad.  Watch it below or check it out here on Ted Talks.

I hope this post wasn’t too all over the place. -JG

Been Thinking About Happiness Lately.


One of the things that saddens me the most is the emphasis that our culture places on money.  We grow up our whole lives hearing about how important money is.  Jobs are compared to one another by salaries, people are judged by one another based not on the character of their heart, but by the amount of money they do or don’t have.  People often measure the successfullness of their lives not by the experiences they’ve been a part of, but by the amount of money they’ve managed to make.

And it’s not surprising is it.  We grow up believing that having money and having possessions and having a high paying job will make us happy. This post isn’t supposed to be about consumerism (maybe another time) so I won’t go into how we are bombarded with this ideology, but I think it’s fairly evident we are in our media, commercials, and the significance we give to living a lavished lifestyle.  Money is our country’s religion, and this “theology” for most citizens is the single greatest cause of anxiety, worry, negative self-image, and more generally unhappiness.

A professor of mine likes to use the humorous quote that “All generalizations are false,” but I think the statement that everyone wants to be happy is closest to truth than nearly anything else.  Unfortunately, the path that so many of us have been brainwashed into taking leads us to seek happiness through what we HAVE, and not through what we DO.

People’s lives these days consist of going to school, so that they can one day go to college, so that they can one day have a job, so that they can one day stare at lots of numbers in their bank account and own lots of things, because they believe that will make them happy…

BUT THERE IS SO MUCH MORE TO LIFE THAN THAT! And this is what I’ve been thinking about…

There is an entire world out-there to see, 7 billion people to meet, millions of things to try, thousands of cultures to experience, hundreds of countries and 7 continents to visit, and only one life to live.

It is absolutely incomprehensible to me how there are people my age and younger that have already committed themselves to career paths that promise high salaries and immeasurably amounts of stress and work, setting aside time “later-on” in life for travel and other invaluable experiences.

The path to fortune too often is surrounded by walls, and those walking it are left so narrow-sighted that they fail to see or recognize the value of anything else when it comes to being happy.  I find it ironic that the “pursuit of happiness” is so often plagued by worry, overwhelming amounts of stress, discontent, anger, judgment, greed, selfishness, and corruption. This to me, is simply because the “pursuit of happiness” is a fallacy!!!!

One of my all time favorite quotes is that, “Now and again, it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy,” by Guillaume Apollinaire.  The idea that happiness is something that must be pursued, or achieved, or eventually gained is simply not true!  Happiness comes from relationship, from kindness, from generosity, from learning, from experience.  From all the things already taking place in our “pursuit of happiness!”

If we, nearly universally, are all seeking happiness, shouldn’t the success of our lives then be measured by the amount of lives we’ve touched, the number of things we’ve experienced, the number of places we’ve been and seen, and the things we have felt?

Shouldn’t we make traveling, doing things we love, our relationships, and learning our top priority, far, far, far higher than the amount of money we have and worth of our possessions?

We should be encouraged to do well in school not to earn lots of money, but to learn all that we can.  We should be encouraged not to pursue jobs that promise high salaries, but to pursue jobs that we love.  We should be encouraged not to seek happiness, but to be happy.

That’s the way I see at least…  But alas, I am young and naive, my opinions almost certainly subject to change as I grow older…

Anyway, my intention is not to leave you with a pessimistic view of money, or even a sense of concern, but rather to encourage you to go do! Go travel. Go learn.  Go help someone for no reason.  Go experience all that there is to experience, and go show someone that you don’t need anything more than what you already have to be happy.  -JG