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Thread: "Keeping it real" v. "Positive mental attitude"

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
    Aug 2001
    Rustbelt Incognito

    "Keeping it real" v. "Positive mental attitude"

    I've always struggled with this.

    On one hand, there's nothing better than fully understanding a situation, knowing the upside, being aware of the downside, ackowledging that things could be better, but for the time being, it just isn't optimal. This is about "keeping it real," a mental "no bullshit zone" of sorts, I like it, it feels right, and it is honest.

    On the other hand, it's good to be positive, people like me when I am upbeat, I get to be like Dale Carnegie, and it's supposed to be good for business. But ultimately, when I get my PMA on (that's "positive mental attitude" for those of you outside of the Franklin Covey clique), I feel like I am acting, that I am being dishonest, and ultimately, it feels yucky.

    I hear the PMA message so often, that I wonder why if I'm inadequate and right for the business. I am a private practice planning consultant, I like what I do, but I get tired of being reminded that, apparently, I haven't been positive enough.

    Any of you feel the same way?

  2. #2

    Oct 2001
    Solano County, California
    It depends. If you are talking about a mandated cheerfulness from your employer (unless you are the boss), then I find that really icky and ultimately ineffectual. I hate management enforced cheerfulness programs.

    Rather than cheerfulness, I just try to be empathic-I hat waiting in lines, so I try to make it quick and easy for our citizens.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
    Mar 2005
    London, UK
    I think one can be a hard-headed realist, looking at reality from a rational standpoint and still recognize that, objectively, there's stuff beyond our control and that (and this is ceintifically more or less demonsrated) maintaininga cheerful attitude and trying to hae a good time ands ee the positive side of things is good for your health, etc.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Plus
    Jun 2003
    My previous signature line:

    Oddball: Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From the Movie Kelly's Hereos (1970)

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
    Nov 2002
    Are they just complaining about your attitude or do they actually want your plans and studies to be more "optimistic"? The latter is more troubling in general.

    This all reminds me of the "Keeping it Real" skit on the Chapelle Show.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
    Feb 2002
    I much prefer to have people be real than to be fake. For me personally, I need to have a better attitude, but I try not to convey negativity to other people. However, I am not a bubbly happy go lucky person by nature, and I would be hard to pretend to do that.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian jread's avatar
    Nov 2004
    Austin, TX
    I think that people who pretend the world is a wonderful place are just delusional. I honestly do not understand that attitude at all.

    I'm very much a realist... very objective, come across as negative a lot of the time. I'm always honest and I call it how I see it. I've been accused of having no emotions (I never throw tantrums but I'm also unsympathetic).

  8. #8
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
    Jun 2003
    at the neighboring pub
    Sugar coatings belong on cakes & cookies, not attitudes.

    I'm honest, but try to avoid being brutal about it.

    I'm fast developing a reputation as quite the spin doctor in the department though, able to spin just about anything to the positive. Just because I'm a pessimist doesn't mean I can't BS when necessary.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  9. #9
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
    Apr 2004
    Tri-Cities, Washington
    Blog entries
    I only hit disgruntled developers and citizens with unbridled sunshine, as I am a jerk and I think they could use it.

    Now, normally I tend to a little levelheaded, but I really enjoy sarcasm and cynicism.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
    Jul 2003
    SW-Coastal WA
    I think it's sad that a lot of people think "realist" and "pessimist" are essentially synonyms. I think I am a very practical, down-to-earth type. I prefer to know The Facts. But a lot of people seem to confuse actual fact with opinion. I simply don't frame the world the same way as most people and I have difficulty even trying to participate in this type of conversation.

    Fact: I have a diagnosis of "atypical cystic fibrosis", as does my oldest child.
    Fact: When I was diagnosed a bit over 5 years ago, my doctor told me "people like you don't get well -- symptom management is the name of the game".
    Fact: At that time, my son -- who has the same diagnosis I have -- had not been on antibiotics in over three years. So I felt free to ignore my doctor's opinion (which he presumably thought was a fact) that I could not get well.
    Fact: I have spent the last 5 years trying to figure out what I and my son were doing right and improve upon it. I intentionally avoided exposing myself overly much to the CF community or the opinions of medical professionals. I didn't want their mental models, assumptions and expectations to rub off on me and predispose me to remain as sick as they thought I "should" be.
    Fact: I have now been free of antibiotics for over 2 1/2 years and a recent X-ray no longer shows the small hole I used to have in my left lung.

    So, to me it is realistic to say that I can get well and I am getting well and I think a lot of other people can also be far healthier than many "experts" predict. To me, that is not "optimism". It is completely realistic. It is, in fact, my reality. Thus, I don't know anymore what to say to people who have a pessimistic attitude and call themselves "realists". I just can't relate -- and not because I "haven't suffered" or some BS like that.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
    Sep 1999
    400 miles from Orlando
    Most of my friends are "glass half full". I'm "glass half empty". I am not deliberately negative, just a personality thing, I guess. Even so, I think I am generally happy. I just can't do the "fakey" happy thing. If I could, I'd be a realtor! Or work for the Chamber of Commerce...

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
    Aug 2001
    The Emerald Coast
    I've never really given it much thought. I'm pragmatic and blend it with a mostly postive attitude toward life. Things are going very good for me at this point. I see the glass as over half full. But life changes and I can adjust.
    Habitual Offender

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Hceux's avatar
    Oct 2003
    In Wasteland of Cedar Trees
    I've actually wondered about how do the KIR (keeping-it-real) crew go on with life withouth a PMA (postive-mental-attitude)! How do you non PMAs do it?

    I also wonder if the KIRs do fewer things, less exciting things, accept fewer challenges, and etc than the PMAs.

    If I had to label myself as a KIR or a PMA, I'd be a PMA. If I wasn't a PMA, then I don't think I would gone as far as where I am now.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
    Apr 2003
    Somewhere between the mountains and the ocean.
    Keeping it real and being positive are two things that can coincide. Just look at the benefits of things that would be issues. For example if something bad happens, learn from the mistakes so that you don’t make them again. Use it to work better.

    I found all sorts of these while working on the new Condo. Frustration about these things will happen regardless of how much you try to have a positive outlook, however, you can use this find what worked, what did not, make those changes, (sometimes in the work place this means some moving of employees from one position to another or removing them all together), and in the end you go from good to great.
    If you want different results in your life, you need to do different things than you have done in the past. Change is that simple.

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