Spot the difference: 6 traits of positive vs negative thinkers

Gain a better understanding of your own thinking and how to improve it

Zeta Yarwood
Zeta Yarwood - Special to Al Arabiya English
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Most people aren’t aware thinking can be addictive. When we’re not actively engaging in the world around us, thinking can give us a feeling of importance and significance. If we’re not thinking about ourselves, who else will?

When the thoughts are positive, isn’t such a bad thing. But when the thinking is constantly negative, the impact can be detrimental. To a person’s self-esteem, how they experience the world and their life in general. Negative people are hard to be around – meaning many people avoid them.

The only people who will hang out with them are other negative people. But even they become tired of each other’s company. Leaving negative people to often feel isolated and sometimes even resentful of the world they live in. Living in a never-ending cycle of pessimism, loneliness, disappointment and confusion as to why they’re not fitting in.

To help you gain a better understanding of your own thinking, and how to improve it, here are 6 traits of positive and negative thinkers:

1) Adventure vs certainty

Negative thinkers fear change. Any deviation from their plan causes them to get stressed. A feeling they avoid at all costs. They like having the certainty of familiarity. They find their comfort zone very comfortable, happy to stay there to avoid the pain of change. Unfortunately this limits them on so many different levels. Not only do they not grow, learn and develop as an individual, but they do not get to experience much of the beauty this world has to offer.

Positive people tend to look at life as one big adventure. They like new experiences and live by the moto ‘variety is the spice of life’. They like to push themselves out of their comfort zone and focus on the pleasure gained from doing something different rather than the pain. They view change as an opportunity to grow rather than a loss of control.

2) Celebrate strengths vs expose weaknesses

Negative people hone in and expose the weaknesses of others. Not because they are bad people. But because they feel so insecure in themselves, highlighting weaknesses in others helps them feel better about their own ‘failures’. However, most of the time this then makes the negative thinking worse as they subsequently beat themselves up for being a horrible person.

Positive people appreciate and celebrate the strengths and successes of other people. They can do this because they are positive about their own identity and value. They focus on their own strengths and accept their weaknesses – realising they’re not perfect and there’s no point in beating themselves up about it.

3) Outward focus vs self-absorption

Now on some level we’re all a little narcissistic. We spend time thinking about what we want out of life and how to get it. However, positive thinkers have a healthy balance between focusing on their needs and the needs of others. Thinking about the emotions and welfare of those around them, and supporting them where they can.

Negative thinkers are always thinking about themselves. How they feel. Whether or not they’re needs are being met. What they are going to get from any situation. If they think they’re not going to get anything from it they’ll avoid it. They often detach themselves from other people’s business, believing it’s not as important as their own. They like to be centre of the world, often using their negative experiences as a way to get attention from others.

4) Feedback vs criticism

Negative people take any kind of feedback as a personal attack. And they don’t handle it very well. Even though they are quite often very quick to criticise others.

Positive people take feedback as simply that. Feedback. They then make an assessment on whether or not the feedback is true for them and decide whether or not a change is necessary.

5) Apologetic vs defiant

Negative people hate being wrong and often refuse to apologise, even though they know they’re at fault. They might feel guilty but their need to be right is more important. Being right helps them feel intelligent and significant – affirming their value in this world.

Positive people accept they might be at fault and apologise when they are. Comfortable in the knowledge that just because they made a mistake, it doesn’t affect their value or self-worth.

6) Self-motivated Vs life-directed

Negative people often let life happen ‘to’ them. They just go with the flow and take very little conscious action to improve or better their circumstances. Partially because they hate change.

They often have a ‘victim’ mentality where they believe they have no control over anything that happens. And as a result don’t make any effort to create their own future.

Positive people don’t believe in destiny. They take control of their lives and make things happen. They set goals and take action to achieve them. They are the CEO of their life.

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