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Day 2: The Set Point

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.” –Buddha

We all have a biologically imposed hedonic set point in our ability to be positive and happy. It isn’t surprising when you consider how many of our personality traits can be linked to our genetic code. The nature/nurture argument has clearly demonstrated that the environment of our lives plays a role. Growing up and living with people who see the cup half full is one of the most meaningful educations that a healthy childhood can offer.


All of this brings me some despair as I have to admit that I my hedonic set point is low, although reportedly I was an extremely happy baby. The cup was usually half empty or worse growing up, so I know that I don’t come from a strong stock of happy people. It is easy and familiar for me to find what is wrong with a situation or the people that I love, often without my even noticing it. Negative thoughts can and do slide into my head cloaked as reasonable doubt.

Most of us struggle as I do with both negative thoughts, which isn’t surprising when you consider how much negativity comes at us everyday in the guise of news media. I have read that 90% of our thoughts and the information coming at us is negative. The continuous focus on the problem does not actually solve it, it just keeps everyone involved mired in the conflict and witnessing what is wrong with those around them.

So on this second day of the positivity quest- what I can tell you is this- be vigilant. Be a sentry into your own mind and don’t let the random bad news create the inevitable slippery slope that happens in your own mind. If you are looking for a job, don’t read about all the unemployed, it won’t inspire you. Instead, read about what you dream of doing. Talk to people doing it, have grateful thoughts as you prepare in whatever way you can to actually do the thing you want to do.

Choose your thoughts the way you choose your friends and for that matter, make sure your friends actually like you and say things that make you feel worthy. Our relationships are the first mirror into how we see ourselves. Make sure that you haven’t stacked the deck against yourself by hanging out with people who want you to feel as bad as they do.

So today — on day 2 of the PQ, remember this:

“All truly wise thoughts have been thoughts already thousands of times; but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, till they take root in our personal experience.” –Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe