A few days ago, Ainan observed:
“Negative thinking: you are never
His remark came in the midst of a conversation about attitudes on life.
He seemed to be endorsing negative thinking
as the way to go. For him, it seemed self-evident that one who thinks
negatively, is going to have less of a problem in life than one who thinks
positively. Personally, I disagree. You see, in my household, I am the
optimist, and my wife is somewhat of a pessimist. It seems, however, that Ainan
has inherited more of my wife’s disposition, on the matter, if he spoke
autobiographically. I think this is a bit of a pity since there is something
about optimism or positive thinking that my son has overlooked: an optimist
will always give something a try because he or she believes there is a good
chance of success, if one does so. The pessimist, on the other hand, may not
try some particular endeavour having convinced themselves that they will not
succeed, so why bother?
Luckily, Ainan’s devotion to “negative
thinking” does not appear to be strong. In fact, I wonder if he was endorsing
it in a tongue-in-cheek fashion. You see, Ainan is always trying new things and
creating new things. So, he is certainly not held back by the typical pessimist’s
attitude to such efforts. I think, therefore, Ainan was just observing that if
you think negatively then you avoid one potential consequence, each and every
time: disappointment. I don’t think, given the way he actually behaves, that he
was relating how he actually thought.
With Ainan, now, there is a tendency to
coin punchy phrases and one liners. Yet, these may not actually describe his
personal view on the world, but more of his perception of certain
understandings that appeal to him, in an aesthetic way. By this I mean that he
likes the sound of the thought he has expressed, but doesn’t necessarily hold
it for himself. He is playing with thoughts and ideas and seeing which appeal
to the mind.
I shall enquire more as to this attitude to
negative thinking, in time. For now, I will say only this: if he holds some
degree of negativity, it could be allied to his tendency to be
self-deprecating. It is another part of his tendency to downplay things.
In this case, downplaying the possibility of a positive outcome. In all, it adds up to a more sober less
exuberant view of the future and the world. Perhaps, actually, this leads to a
certain “level-headedness”, in that he won’t get carried away with
possibilities, but will seek to estimate actualities instead...or perhaps even
underestimate them. It remains to be seen what effect this will have on his
choices in life. At this time, it does not seem to hamper him from experimentation
and growth in any way. I remain watchful.
Posted by Valentine Cawley
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Labels: a perspective on life, Ainan Celeste Cawley, In the eyes of a child, optimism, outlooks and beliefs, pessimism, positive mental attitude, realism, world view