For one to be defined, the opposite must exist.
Things that have completely changed my life:
The Happiness Project
Spirituality & philosophy
My first corporate job
Wellington City, NZ
And the power of negative thinking.
Today I’d love to share what it is, plus how it changed my life for the better.
From March – May ‘17, I was reading the book Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight. Having enjoyed her first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck, I was already on board. Ready to get my sh*t together? Hell yeah.
I was inspired by many of Knight’s life tips, such as a must-do list vs a to-do list and the what/why method (read the book for yourself, it’s amazing!). But the power of negative thinking? It’s really how I got to the life I have now.
The power of negative thinking is helpful if you don’t know exactly what you want, but know what you don’t want. Here are examples from the book:
To NOT be unhappy
To NOT be employed by a corporation
To NOT suffer through another winter like those puppies in the RSPCA Christmas campaign
Today Knight is a best-selling author who quit her day job, moved to the Caribbean and blesses the world with her honest & profound life advice from the tropical island she calls home. Incredible, huh?
As for me, I felt this strange relief once I read this. As a firm believer in the Law of Attraction, and someone who suffers from clinical depression & anxiety, I always told myself to be positive. To think positive and manifest positivity to me. To act positive because it’s how I want to feel. It was the only way I knew how – but it just wasn’t working.
Reading this gave me permission to immediately get a piece of paper and jot down some negative thoughts; of what I didn’t want, and it felt like a release. Funnily enough, it was also super. duper. easy.
I wrote down:
I don’t want to climb the corporate ladder.
I don’t want to work Monday to Friday 9-5.
I don’t want to be stuck in traffic everyday.
I don’t want to have no time for creative work, eg. my photography.
Each of these correlated to a pain point in my life at the time: having recently left my much loved job in general insurance sales, I was working in life & injury insurance administration which was extremely uninspiring and the environment completely unconducive to cultivating a trace of excitement or passion for life.
I was commuting to the city every morning, Monday to Friday, working the traditional hours of 9-5, on hot, stuffy, crowded buses. Commuting took up 2 hours per day, and I felt sick and nauseated every evening when I got home. I was always physically exhausted and mentally drained; eating nutrient-less food out of convenience and recovering from long days mindlessly and unproductively.
I was working dedicatedly on freelance photography on my days off – I’d shot clients’ graduations, babies, boudoir, engagement and weddings and I knew that photography made me come alive.
As for climbing the corporate ladder? I have zero intention of that. I’m not power hungry or narcissistic, and authority or status do not excite me at all.
Don’t get me wrong; this is different from not being ambitious. I’ve previously coached and empowered new team members, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and I do aspire to move into a role above my current role – just not for the sake of moving up itself. What drives me is a job that is intrinsically full of purpose and creates a ripple effect of positive impact on the world and truly helps people, as it evidently drives many millennials. From experience (and business/self-development books), I’ve come to discover that many high up on the corporate ladder have gained a fancy job title but lost much more in empathy, authenticity and humanity. But that’s a topic for another time.
Long story short, I got everything I wanted.
Now, I work part time, three days a week.
Now, I walk 10 minutes to work and back home. No more traffic, but instead fresh air, sunshine and exercise.
Now, I have four days a week to pursue creative work. You betcha I have plenty of time to study my photography course, watch photography tutorials, and read photography blogs & magazines. I love being a self-guided student of not only my creative pursuit but life. On a typical day in my four days off work, if not studying, you’ll find me
Reading books – this year, it’s been one after another. My current favourites are The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer, Thrive by Arianna Huffington, 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam, and Start With Why by Simon Sinek.
Watching lifestyle / minimalism videos – productivity, creativity, organisation, decluttering, zero waste, setting real goals, personal finance, or just how to adult (while having fun)!
Watching speeches, conferences or TED talks of the most inspiring and knowledgeable people in the world: entrepreneurs, politicians, authors, world leaders, kick-ass boss babes like Sophia Amuroso.
Self-studying psychology and spirituality – deepening my knowledge about intuition and synchronicity, mindfulness, motivation, purpose, human potential, the law of attraction, the laws of karma, vibration and energy.
Creating candles – my stress relief and source of joy & calm, I love making scented candles to brighten and warm up my home literally & figuratively.
By giving myself just a moment to be negative, to think about what I didn’t want in order to find what I did want – it’s one of the best things I ever did. It’s not to say you should live in a constant state of negativity, but use your frustrations as a tool to transform them into your innermost goals and desires come true.
This experience has taught me that life truly is about balance in order to achieve harmony: positive energy cannot always exist on its own. Sometimes negative energy is needed to ground you, centre you, and bring you back to reality.. Even if not for long, before freeing you back to contemplate only the magical, wonderful, synchronistic, positive, higher things in the world.