I recently started noticing that seeing things in absolutes made life more stressful.
So, instead of good and bad, I started trying to look at things as better or worse more often.
Am I rich or poor? I don’t know but I can make myself a little bit richer. Am I healthy or unhealthy? Choosing one means choosing an absolute.
Is this person smart or stupid? He might be smarter on some days, and stupider on other days.
Are you happy or sad? The absolute answer is less useful than approaching it on a relative scale, ie., be happier.
Now, to somebody who loves brevity, this new way of looking at things means I have to add more words to my sentences, but I decided it was more worth it than not.
You’ll notice this blog post is full of examples. The very first sentence rewritten with an absolute would look like this:
I recently started noticing that seeing things in absolutes made life stressful.
Writing (or thinking) that made me feel claustrophobic. If you state an absolute, you’ve committed to it – and that means you have less opportunity for growth. If you’re committed to an idea, you’ve stopped seeking alternatives; stopping means being stationary while the rest of universe moves.
Is there no room for absolutes in the universe?
Not sure. How about my personal life? Is there no room for absolutes in my personal life? Should I never say ‘good’ and ‘bad?’
I don’t know. I’ll need to examine that a little more.
But one thing I do know, when I resist the urge to say, ‘This sandwich tastes bad,’ and instead, go with, ‘This sandwich tastes a little worse than the other sandwich I ate last week,’ it reminds me, I have access to a lot of sandwiches, I might have eaten worse but I have definitely eaten better for which I should be very grateful, and I will go on to eat many tasty sandwiches in the future.
So, yeah it forces me to think more positively.
And more positivity is always better, isn’t it?