Is positive thinking the way to go? Probably not.
Salsa af Stavsnas
Ellinor Ristoff Staffan Ehde
Mon 15 Oct 2012 08:22
Would positive thinking help you?
When we anchor, we leave our 16 tons of "Salsa" hanging on one chain, and at the bottom there is one anchor with a weight of 38 kg, that is supposed to hold our home in place. Doing so I always think of the worse case scenario; what if, the wind turns? What if it will pick up like it did in Spain when we had gale winds coming down the mountains, and it is pitch dark outside?
This worse case scenario goes all the way when we navigate, thinking; what if the engine stops here? Makes me hold the boat to windward so we will have more time to manage such a problem.
"What if" is an expression I always thought of as a part of creative thinking, but it is just as much a safety expression.
When you are vulnerable positive thinking does not help.
But there is one more thing about this, negative thinking makes you appreciate what you have. Instead of taking things for granted, you appreciate them, because you know you might loose them one day. Life is about change, even if your house is not hanging on a chain, life is. We marry the one we love and soon we take each other for granted, but if you remind yourself that this is a limited time, you might feel the kiss next time. We buy the car we want and soon we get used to it and want more.
The secret is to appreciate what you have, and it helps to imagine what life would be without it.
Coming back to the boat when we have been away for one day is always a relief to see her floating there where we left her, how often did that happen getting home from work?
– Wow the house is still there!
I'm sure some that read our blog think sometimes that it is incredible that you take yourself and the family out on the ocean; think of the uncomfort of the waves and the vulnerability when there is no land in sight! Negative thinking helps even there. It might be bad sometimes, but we can always ask ourselves, is it dreadful? Could it be worse? The answer is always yes, and that helps. And believe it or not, humans get used to the uncomfortable situation. And the good news is, you appreciate when things get better. You take nothing for granted. To be vulnerable helps to gain happiness, to be safe is just a fantasy and when things really go wrong you get very very disappointed.
There must be something good about positive thinking? Of course there is, but for the most part it is dangerous. If you have a problem and must take an uncomfortable or dangerous decision, positive thinking might cover up on the surface, but deep within you are worried. You might keep a poker face but you know somewhere this is not good. A famous singel handed sailor goes further and calls it emotional inertia, your brain does not send the right action signals and you are paralyzed, thinking, it will work out (even though you are sailing right towards a reef, you might not take the uncomfort of changing course and sails) . If you change perspective and think of what is the worse outcome from this? You might see that it might be bad but not dreadful, you will survive (unless your are sailing towards a reef). It might even be good in a different way. This can help you to do the uncomfortable and thereby survive.
I'm not saying that we always take the right decisions or that nothing will happen as long as we think negative, I'm saying that we appreciate every moment things go well, because we know that one day we might loose everything. And that will probably happen in a way we did not think about it. And even if we make this trip safe and sound we will not survive in the end. That's life, isn't it?