Sep 042012
 

The power of Negative thinking

Over the past few days I have been thinking and feeling pretty sorry for all the negative people in this world. I come across them every single day it seems. You know the ones..those who hate their life, those who are bored with life, those who are unsuccessful and they blame everyone else but themselves. The ones who sit around and complain instead of making their own life better. The ones who attack others due to their own failures and inabilities. Those who have lost their purpose in life and  feel in necessary to go on and on about how great they are and how awful and pitiful others are. The ones who feel they are the greatest thing to ever hit this earth when the reality is they are near the bottom of the barrel in todays 2012 world and are trying to make themselves feel better by spewing nonsense. I feel so bad for these individuals because they seem to not realize what they are doing to themselves and those around them. It’s the power of Negative thinking, and it is not a good thing. This power has a way of screwing with your life if you are not careful.

Me at around age 5 with my uncle. I was always a happy kid :)

I have never understood why someone would live on this earth and spend this short time we have here being so miserable. Our time here is limited and I have always been a huge believer in making the most of it as it is all a huge learning process. For the past three years I have (especially) been a HUGE believer in POSITIVITY and the effect it has on our lives. Positive thinking, even in tough times seems to have a way to turn things around. It’s a pretty amazing thing..our mind. Just by constantly being happy, being positive and being an all around nice person can really improve upon our lives.

I see so many people who are negative thinkers and all they do is complain, bitch, moan and spread hate and anger. WHY or WHY? Well there are reasons for their behaviors.

I was planning to write something about this on this blog just as a way to get my thoughts out  and just moments ago I saw a post by my friend Thorsten Overgaard talking about the same thing, but in a different kind of way. While he wasn’t so much talking about negativity in general he touched on certain behaviors in certain individuals that breed negativity. He called his piece “the anti-social personality” and I read every word and loved it because it is all so true. I find it a must read.

So I suggest you go read that at Thorsten’s site right now. It’s a great article. 

The title of my little post today is called “The power of Negative Thinking” because I wanted to try to touch on what negative energy and negative thinking can do. Those who are negative all the time seem to be the most miserable people in the world and I see it destroy so many people who practice this way of thinking. Some people are not aware that negative thinking attracts negative energy, but it is true. When someone is always so bitter and negative it attracts negativity to them like a magnet. It is a bad place to be and when it comes to life and living I have found that always being positive, always being generous, and always being happy, loving and KNOWING that life is good then things have a way of not only working out but they have a way of making you prosper in all areas of life.

Negative people and negative energy bounce off of me because I am shielded from such things but I get my fair share of miserable individuals hounding me or attacking me from week to week even though I avoid those who show this behavior. The good thing is I have the thickest skin in the world, I really do :) So how does it affect me? It doesn’t! It just makes me feel sorry for those who go around the internet hiding behind a keyboard and spewing ridiculous comments when they know damn well that the reason they are saying such things is only because their life sucks, or they lost their own vision or they feel like  attention is taken away from them. Instead of changing their life for the better they go on and on and attack others who are happy, who are positive, who seem to be doing well. Pretty sad when all one can do is write negatively about others instead of talking about their own accomplishments. Some of the thing I have read recently is just so downright negative it gives you a feeling in the pit of your stomach that makes you question why this person writing is so down on themselves.

Since creating this site three years ago I have come across some of the most amazing, influential and positive people I have ever encountered in life. These people are the ones who I flock to and who flock to me because believe it or not we all put out certain energies. Like I said earlier, positive attracts positive and negative attracts negative. I have also come across some of the meanest, nastiest, rudest and most ridiculous people I have ever come across in life. These “negs” are the ones who are just plain down right miserable due to their lack of attention, success, or overall life happiness. Others have been brought to this state through drugs, alcohol or something else that just makes them full of hate.

Negative Thinking can destroy a persons happiness and I have seen it happen over and over again.

I am sure all of you are probably asking right about now “But Steve, what does this have to do with photography”? The answer is…well, it has to do with everything in life. Your work, your family, your finances and even your hobbies such as photography. Let’s say you are a photographer and you enjoy this as a hobby. You do not do it as a profession nor do you really want to. You want to go out and peacefully take photos. Photography can be great for “peaceful therapy” because when you are out taking shots, scouting locations or taking a long drive searching for that next cool shot you could care less about other things going on in your life. You are in it for the moment, the beauty and the passion..even in some cases the gear you use. If  this sounds like you I bet you are a happy and positive person.

This is good. So stay happy, stay peaceful, stay wonderful and stay positive! By doing this good things will cling to you in life and you will live a happy and peaceful existence. Stay around those who are positive and those who are negative, well, try not to listen to what they spew.

So the moral of the story is…be happy, be positive and be a caring and loving person. When you do this you will attract the same into your life and things will ALWAYS work out and your life will constantly improve. If a negative person tells you that you can’t do this or can’t do that or that your photos suck then know they say this because they are lacking in some area of life. Just shrug it off and be happy knowing that YOU and only YOU control your future and life.

Steve

 

  168 Responses to “The power of Negative thinking”

  1. Great post Steve

  2. 100% true. Negative people must die! (in a positive way)

    • Always look on the bright side of life. Sound advice from “Life of Brian.” Thanks, Steve. I’m glad we have you to run this great site. I do wonder at the people who read ‘Daily Inspiration’ as ‘Criticize This.’ I love the spirit your contributors show, expert or novice they just want to share. How admirable.

  3. Well said Steve!!!

  4. Great post – just what I needed this morning. Thanks Steve!

  5. Take pictures, be happy!

    Wonderful thing about digital photography – no negatives! :)

    • Does that mean negative people are subconsciously attracted to film? LOL

      Great article Steve and so true!

    • I love it! “Take pictures, be happy!” You know my mind instantly had Bobby McFerrin singing this refrain. I may even have a t-shirt printed. :)
      See all the results of Steve’s positivity– his reader’s generate creative ideas–a catchphrase, a song and t-shirt.

    • Haha! +1!

      Cheers!

  6. Word. Great article Steve Your wisdom far exceeds anything you’ve done so far. With wisdom comes direction. Your direction leads and guides you as you try to grasp this way of life. Photography is merely that option that lets you express that. And you my boy express it very well

  7. Maybe you should tie this article into photography by discussing that people should shoot more with film and produce negatives!

    • Film shooters know how to turn negatives into positives. Except the ones who leave that to someone else. And most keep their negatives forever, filed away for when they might need them. Humor can be found in unlikely places.

  8. Great post Steve. I used to be a very negative guy, then I read The Four Agreements. Changed how I look at the world. I re-read it once a year to remind myself of the four principles. Check it out.

  9. life is like photography. The positives come from the negatives.

  10. excellent post. couldn’t agree more!

  11. Cheers! Time to go have a pint with friends. Thank you Steve. Enjoy life everyone!

  12. really enjoyed that Steve

  13. Nice write up Steve. I think most of us know where your coming from, especially in regards to the comment section on this site and others. More then ever before people have a voice that they can spread around the world but with that has come a price. For all the knowledge being shared there are those who use this ability to push their crap across the internet while plugging their ears and covering their eyes.

    As bad as it can get on here, god forbid you go on the comment section of a News site. You can almost see the negative vibes building into a tidal wave of hate, greed and envy. Pretty harsh stuff.

    As for myself I share your same views..live and let live…I’m happy for everyone. But I have this part of me, I think it comes from being bullied as a kid incessantly…I can’t stand people being put down so when I see it I feel a duty to stand up for them or their point of view and then I become angry and hostile towards the person that started it…and we all know where that leads. At that point I can become just as culpable. I’m working on it though.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts…please do it more!

  14. We can thank negativity for providing the shadows that reveal beauty in our world. If they did not exist we would be blinded in a bliss of overexposure.

    Now the challenge is to find beautiful moments of light in all kinds of weather…because they always exist, even in apparent darkness.

    Keep capturing those rare animals from the photon species Steve- thank you for the post.

  15. Bravo Steve, thank you for a wonderful post.

  16. Great post Steve!
    Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.

    Having previously been un-wittingly consumed by negativity, my life hit rock bottom about 6 years ago. I have spent the last 6 years since changing my mindset and therefore turning around my life.
    What you say about positivity drawing people and more positivity towards you. This is true.
    It is funny how things have a way of working out when you keep this mindset.
    For instance, I was drawn to this page as my passion for photography grew. I am always compelled by the great possitive work I see contributed here, there are sadly always a few negative nelly’s.

    However today I have some big decisions to make in my music career to do with one of the bands I am involved with. This post and Thorsten’s have come at just the right time for me. Very thought provocative, and a reminder for me where I am at in my journey. These 2 articles have really spoken to me…
    It’s funny how the world has a way of lending a helping hand when you stay calm and possitive. ;)

  17. Perfect message. Perfectly obvious as well, but it’s nice to see it expressed the way you have, as we could all do with some reminding from time to time!

  18. Well said Steve. Very good advise.

  19. Here here.Its sometimes to easy to get into a funk.A couple of deep breatHs and then bring on the good vibs and let the good times roll.

  20. Sometimes I do feel a little “down”, but then I just pretend that I am Ashwin and everything is all better again…

  21. This is a happy site. We may have different opinions but the bottom line is, let’s look at each others’ strengths and enjoy the most of it. The fact that I do not agree with some points of views do not prevent me from nourishing my thoughts with what I agree with. Thinking this way allows me to enjoy the contents of this site no matter what. Thank you everyone!

  22. This sort of reminds me of my favourite Zen story:

    A man was being chased by a ravenous tiger when he came to the edge of a cliff
    He began to climb down a hanging vine
    Halfway down he saw another, equally ravenous tiger waiting at the bottom
    Just them something caught the man’s eye
    A luscious red strawberry growing just within his reach
    He plucked, ate it, and exclaimed “How delicious this is!”

    That formed the basis of my motto for life, which is: “Enjoy the strawberries!”

    • That’s Paul Reps in Zen Bones, Zen flesh which is nothing like the original parable in the Mahabharat which speaks to man to release himself from worldly desires and to be free. In this case, substitute cameras for the drops of honey in the original.

  23. I been visiting the site for a while and also noticed the increase in negative comments, usually in form of criticising how people spend their own hard earned money on what they love. You only get one chance at life. you can get busy living or get busy dying.

  24. Steve, Thank you so much for posting this. We can take something away with us form this post, we can all do better, and most of all we can all strive to treat our fellow man with dignity and respect even though we may disagree with them.
    Steve I am so happy that your site will reach so many people who are afflicted by their negativity, I HOPE it makes them ponder the way they behave, I HOPE it makes them understand the affect it may have on others and most of all I HOPE it transforms them and their photography iinto something that has greater meaning for themselves.
    Well done

  25. I forgot to say thanks to the following site posters:
    1. The fire fighters who always try to extinguish flames.
    2. Those cheerleaders who always bring good wishes to others.
    3. The medics who heal the injured.

  26. well said steve!

  27. Steve,
    Posts like these are what make your community very different and thought-inspiring.
    Also the reason I visit every morning whilst having my first coffee at work.

    Keep up the great work & look forward to all the post-photokina reviews I’m sure will be coming our way.

  28. Hi Steve

    I can’t argue with your position in general, its a good way to live your life and there are many complete dorks on the net, as we all know. I’m a big fan of your site and your attitude, you run a highly democratic ship here, you are fair, even-handed and honest. But most importantly you do not put yourself up on a pedestal and claim to be any kind of ‘guru’ or even a ‘master photographer’ (that said, you’ve taken some very nice shots!)

    But I have to say, I think you are looking at things through slightly polarised lenses. There is a place for cynicism and negativity. Without it we would go on blindly being screwed by dishonest, self righteous politicians because there would be nobody to call them out, kids would never know the difference between right and wrong because ‘we can’t be negative with the little darlings’, and we would laugh a lot less because the world would be devoid of satire and irony.

    I understand you guys across the pond are really big on ‘free speech’ (yes we are too!) :) Well that means we’ve got to take the rough with the smooth. If a photography student is doing a poor job with 70% of his work, the teacher could choose to focus on the 30% he does well and hope the penny drops, or he can do the student a favour and give him the negative feedback he desperately needs to help him improve.

    The internet is full of extremes, don’t let those extremes polarise your view of the world. There’s a reasonable balance to be struck between being ‘too negative’ or ‘too positive’. You have nothing to defend yourself against and you can, I hope, see that, by the many friends you have made since you started this site.

    Best wishes
    Neil

    • +1

      One person’s “negative” can be another person’s disappointment in wishing for something better. If there was only positive feedback there’d be no progress. No hidden messages here, I just think there’s a balance.

      That being said, great post, and great site, Steve.

    • I get what your saying and in real life we all need teachers to show us the way, but who among us on the internet is the teacher or the protester or the guardian? People from across the pond (going east) such as yourself seem to do a good job of putting things in perspective good or bad. Not always the case over here as we like to bring “the hammer down” or so it seems. Theres always exceptions to all this but my point is it’s hard to collate human nuances without all five human senses working at the same time. Unlike written letters where we must reflect and proof read there is the immediacy of online communication that lends it self to act first, think second. I think that’s why the knickers or panties can twist up quite easily from valid criticism which turns to mud slinging.

      • @ Neil, Mike, John and Summo Lux. Wonderful, insightful comments, guys, looking beyond the outward signs of negativity to the cause(s). Here there are expressions of a dispassionate and caring nature, which I see lacking in the article. The human spirit, or lack of it, is so varied, that there simply isn’t a one solution fits all answer.

  29. Well said.

  30. Well said Steve The drugs are a symptom not the cause mental illness is all around us it’s hard for some people to stay positive in this world due to illness depression anxiety it’s all tied together us who are lucky and happy should thank our lucky stars every day cheers

  31. Steve,

    Boy do I know what you are talking about! I know someone who believes I destroyed their photography career simply because I chose the same subject they were photographing (Bethlehem Steel Plant Bethlehem PA). I chose the subject as my masters thesis (Pratt Institute, Images of Flesh and Steel, The Decline of Bethlehem Steel and its Impact on the Community) and expand well beyond anything he was doing. Walker Evans shot images of the Bethlehem Plant and this was years before my former friend or myself. I am still involved with this project (portraits of men and women that worked there and their stories) and am planning a book (Images from 1989-2012) and am a founding member of an archive (Steelworkers Archives Inc. Bethlehem PA) to reach out to others to archive new material concerning people who worked there. My former friend still hates me and blames me for all his problems. He even burned some of his film negatives in a rage of hate and frustration! He is also fascinated with guns! He has done nothing to further himself as a photographer for years.

    I have nothing against this guy, and feel sorry for him. I do not hate him at all! I feel sad he put down the camera and blamed me for his own bad choices in life. Yes, he inspired me, and I even said so in a public lecture on my photography (along with Walker Evans, W. Eugene Smith, Sabastio Salgado, etc,,,). I really wish him well but I am not optimistic. As for myself, I was having a great time at the Great Allentown Fair with my Leica M8 and 35mm f1.2 Nokton for the past week and my 8 year old daughter really enjoyed the rides, music, animals and food! I know so many people that are not happy. I have another friend that really loved photography and became a severe hypochondriac. I am more hopeful of him. I am trying to bring him back into photography by using it as a therapy tool to bring him back to who he really is. I can go on and on but you get the point. I am fighting the negative by enjoying my family and photography as much as I can. I cannot do anything about people who have lost their way, war, injustice, etc. I can respond by being loving and creative!

  32. Thank you Steve,
    You become your dominant thought and I agree with your article.
    Thank you for your work and positive efforts here I certainly appreciate it.
    I always say ‘don’t let the negative few influence the positive many’
    Ross in OZ

  33. Steve,

    Seems you may have had a bad day. Cheer up. I have learned much from your site. Most notably that great photos are an art. Many times I look at these (your) site and wonder why I try. But at the end of the day, just like my golf game, I don’t give up. I enjoy it too damn much.

    • Thanks Bill. Actually I have been having non stop great days! This was not written because I had a bad day, not at all. It was written because I am not a fan of negativity and those who spew their nonsense. I am not talking about those who comment with nasty words but others who live their life in a negative way. Just pointing out the facts..positive thinking is the way to go :)

      • “those who spew their nonsense”.

        Could this be construed as negativity towards other people? I wonder.

        • Alternatively: read up on philosophy. “Facts” do not exist in an absolute sense. They are always “perceived”, so the presentation of those facts largely deends on their perception.

          Now contradict me.

  34. I love this Post

    In specific term, its so true that doing what we love, capturing moments,
    For me , its a good positive effect

    Keep up the positive and happy life , all friends
    And Steve, i am positively waiting for your specific happy news

  35. Hi Steve. I have followed your site (and Thorsten Overgaard’s) for the past 3 years – mainly to review current and past articles on Leica M cameras and lenses. I have totally enjoyed reading the many product reviews you’ve posted along with numerous excellent guest articles and daily inspiration postings. Your comments in this article struck a cord with me and, I just wanted to send a note of thanks for all of your great work through Positive Thinking. I agree that a person’s outlook on positive or negative thinking greatly influences their approach to photography and indeed to life. Here is a direct link to the article you referenced by Thorsten:

    http://overgaard.dk/the-story-behind-that-picture-0087_gb.html

    Thanks again for maintaining this great site.

  36. That image of your son… priceless!

  37. I reckon you’re right, Steve. Sometimes it’s hard to remain positive when the messages sent out such as (to paraphrase), “remember, you didn’t build this site, the government did”, diminish the individual. Photography, which uses applied science via technology and engineering as well as fine art, journeys along by thriving on constructive criticism, eschewing consensus for the mediocre, and encouraging rigorous debate. Be positive for the worthwhile, be critical of anything less.

    • Negativity is taking a true statement about interdependency and turning it into a political attack piece by quoting one clause out of context. Wonder who would do that?

  38. The only negatives I want in my life are the ones that produce photo after being dipped in some chemicals ;)

  39. Great post Steve, thank you very much.

  40. One of the best posts you have done in my opinion. Keep up the great work and just smile at the negative people and move on – and make lots of photographs & happy memories for yourself and others. Life is too short to waste on negative people.

  41. Steve, thank you for such inspirational words. I am sure from time to time everyone has to be reminded that life is short and positive energy is good for your health.

  42. And here I thought negative thinking was “expose for the shadows and develop for the highlights”….

  43. Thank for the pep talk. I need to be more positive and thankful in my own life.

  44. very cool post steve ! couldent agree more with you !

  45. Very true!!! Great post.

  46. Excellent column, and I would like to add a personal note.
    One of the major things creating so much negativity out there is the workplace. I spent almost 30 years at a job that, although lucrative, was in a pressure-filled, negative, back biting environment. I retired very early, but now I wish I’d worked longer at something enjoyable.
    If you really hate your job, and it has a bad ‘feel’, try to move. Spending 40+ hours per week in a negative hostile environment will wear you down, and you might become one of ‘them’.

    • I just wanted to add that one of the reasons you’re as happy as you are Steve, is that you love what you do.

      • Many people are unhappy because they are in this position of :

        If there is no the loving family, fiancee, wife, girlfriend.
        If there is no hobby we love
        If there is no work we adore

        Then what … let us see how happy a person then is.

        .

  47. If people kept away from the TV, the Papers, anything to do with news in general you’d see a big shift in society in an uplifting way.

    Anyway, excellent writing once again… do you think if we all simultaneously focus on the M10 coming in under $3,000 it will happen?

  48. Negatives are good. They have less contrast the transparency films. That is why say, wedding photographers use it. It gaves them more latitude. I like to look at the new stuff coming out. I shoot mostly film. I feel all of debates on line tell me one thing . My digital is not my primary photographic tool. So I do not take personally anyone who thinks my Fujifilm X-Pro 1 is junk. I look at the pictures it makes and say it is a recording device, good or bad picture is up to me. I just dislike hype. Negative photographers, should use 4×5′s not the Net. Take pictures not war.

  49. The Message! :-)

  50. Thank you for sharing this.
    I believe in what you are saying.
    I also believe that negative people are not a different species than happy people.
    I have learnt that it’s all in a person.Negative and positive..Acceptance of the negative part can make people decide to choose for the positive.If you don’t do that..it will result in an inner fight with the negative part.
    By living this, it’s makes me understand the negative people more because it is all recognition.Negative people must be shown the way how to act more “fruitfull’.:))

    Greetings and thank you for the site i am visiting every day with pleasure and excitement

  51. It’s really wonderfull to get an article like this on a site like this. It really shows (again) that we need to see everything in life in perspective of only one thing: being happy!
    Since I follow this site, you strike me as one of the most positive people ever, Steve. Me, my skin is probably somewhat less thick than yours. I have encountered quite some negativity in life, that had its influence on me. Maybe it’s also because one becomes more prudent then, that I constantly need to work on being as positive as possible. So I wonder sometimes how one can always keep on being positive, without being reckless. Still I’m deeply convinced that everybody should indeed work on positive thinking, including myself for sure! I often tell people that the world would be an increadibly better place, when everybody should put their energy in making other people happy, instead of harassing them.
    Thanks so much, Steve. Things like this cannot be sead too much. I think it’ll give me an extra boost!

  52. :-)

    The author Neil Gaiman said it very well in his speech: “Make Good Art!”

    That is the answer to all negativity. Create good art, and living itself can be good art and positive.

    (Link to “Make Good Art!” video: http://overgaard.dk/the-story-behind-that-picture-0078_gb.html )

  53. Steve, this is an election year. By the way, there are people who are born that looks at the negative side of things, i.e. fisherman that complain about the bait, the crew, the sharks, while the happy fisherman gets a new bait and starts over again. There are countless examples, but it could be the same for hobby photograhers, some blame the camera, the light, the subject, while others just click away, just trying for the one picture that will make their day.

    If everyone was positive, think of the possibilities, but that is just a dream.

  54. Beautiful post, thank You :)

  55. Great post Steve, I just love reading your website, you are such an inspiration. Thanks………

  56. Uplifting – thanks for writing that piece

  57. All this positivity is getting me down….

    ;-)

  58. Never truer words written, Steve.

    Negativty is the Dark Energy of the universe… we have to fight it – just look how it’s being done at the London 2012 Paralympics!

    Love what you do, get on with your life and count your blessings.

    Photography-wise it’s almost never about the camera, it’s about you.

  59. It’s a about time people spoke up about this. Particularly on photography forums and blogs, it’s terrible.

    I find though if you talk about negative people you attract more of them into your lives. I think it’s better to talk about being positive.

  60. “…I get my fair share of miserable individuals hounding me or attacking me from week to Week[s] even though I avoid those who show this behavior.”

    I know there is a hidden message in there :D Good article Steve. Keep up the good work and don´t let them get to you.

  61. A healthy scepticism is the basis of science, and thus technological progress. Scepticism cuts through the bull; for example: “be positive….and things will ALWAYS work out”? That is simply not true. Taken to its logical conclusion you’re left with, “hope for the best and there’s no need to prepare for the worst”.

    There are plenty of anonymous idiots out there, but I think much healthy questioning (scepticism) is wrongly dismissed as negativity.

    • I very much agree with these statements and think there is a increasing trend here. As people increasing read ‘how to lead a more fulfilled life and enjoy greater personal success’ type books or aphorisms; then it can be used as a shield against considering a challenge to their behaviours, opinions or presentation of facts because it comes from some one ‘negative’ or with nefarious intent.

      We need to guard against the idea that self belief and ‘can do attitude’ are superior values than competence

      The other interesting slant about preaching the power of the positive or indeed any other aspect of personal management is the promise that if one follows the advice one will be rewarded with greater personal success. It is increasingly possible to associate those who are superficially positive with signals that say I am on my way to being successful and I will ignore you if necessary on the way to that success – often part of a passive aggressive thing

      So no I don’t agree being positive at all costs is a wise outlook

      I can understand the sentiments in Steve’s post however to my mind the examples cited are something beyond the negative end of the spectrum and a bit nasty something different altogether.

      Personally I am commonly perceived as negative – but it is wrong to mistake that for unhappiness – I find a lot to question in the world on a daily basis. However people who know me well understand my sense of loyalty sense of fairplay and integrity and I have limited tolerance for people without those characteristics. Further I am not unsuccessful by a number of common measures including a loving family.

      I seriously question the sanity of anyone religiously subscribing to the view that only a positive outlook is acceptable or is an absolute prerequisite for a healthy self or society.

      interesting discussion

  62. Steve i hope you realise
    people who are negative faced this continually as children from their guardians, parents
    thus their pure positive mind, heart was turned.

    Many in adulthood try their best to counter this in themselves
    yet years of this type of abuse in their formative years is tough to shake.

  63. There is negativity for the sake of negativity…. I am thinking in particular miserable sods who trawl the internet with nothing better to do than post spiteful and ill meaning comments. And yes, positive thinking has an amazing effect on yourself and those around you.

    Just remember as you go, there are those people who are genuinely down (upbringing, life has generally thrown a LOT of shit at them) or mentally ill (depression, anxiety).

    So no, there is no place for mean spirited people, and people do need to look at themselves more rather than expecting everything to be handed on a plate to them, but it is not always black and white….

    But…. be nice people… amazing where it will get you.

  64. Well said!!!

  65. Thanks for the reminder. Great post.

  66. Ties in well with Thorsten’s article! Well done Steve & Thanks!

  67. It is too easy to be negative about negative people …

  68. Looking out for, searching for our own happiness can make us self-centred.
    At the expense of being compassionate, considerate,

    As many things … we are served better by a balance

  69. Nice article!

    Steve, if you just could borrow me a bit of your thick skin. Hence finding the right balance between realistic positive and all the other attitudes that hinder us can be quite a challenge, what makes us positive when accomplished…. :-)

    I also find it very positive, that I just ordered the new CV 28mm 2.8 SL II N Color Skopar für my 5D2.

  70. A Steak to that!

  71. I ll never stop admiring Steve Huff, this blog amazes me, Steve, the people around here, so many positive contributions, thanks a lot and keep with the good work! sometimes i have been debating where to make contributions or something, this site all for free, no money asked for! no donations, nothing, amazing , amazing, i enter everyday here and gets even better day after day! this is more than photography to me, is about life itself
    peter. barcelona. spain

  72. I know I’ll be in the minority here, but I think Barbara Ehrenreich makes a pretty decent counterpoint:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5um8QWWRvo

  73. Happiness &staying positive can be dependent on things outside of us
    (having a loving partner, job we love, hobbies we adore so forth)
    if these are taken away …
    like the ebb n flow of waves.

    Being content is where its at
    as it is not dependent on anything ..
    thus a person can be content having nothing

    Contentment is a fair way further down the road than happiness, positivity

    (Contentment though is rather difficult to achieve).

  74. Hi Steve, I was postive person with my Nikon Cams untill I read your writing about Leica M7, M8 then M9 then M9P then MM… I sold my Nikon Cams to have Leica MP then exchange MP to have M8 and sold my M8 to have M9 and exchange M9 for M9P… Now I saw your pictures took with the Leica MM that I love these renders in black & white to much so I wonder “what I have to do” I am close to go back to negative thinking again!? Back to MP to play with film or will exchange the M9P to buy the MM… Tell me! How I can be positive with this such passion?! Ok! I’m kidding… Cheers

  75. This post is so ridiculously OTT I thought it was a parody at first. Apparently not.

    http://fora.tv/2010/01/11/Smile_or_Die_The_Tyrany_of_Positive_Thinking

    • Ha ha! Great, and funny too. Personally I think it’s a bit of (at best) a naive misunderstanding to equate criticism that is’t accompanied by applause with people that are unhappy with the world and their lives. reality has more nuances than that.

      More in particular, how would we know what beautiful images are, if we couldn’t identify crap images? Look at the pilosophical side of things, think ositives and negatives, sit back a few centimetres and relax.

  76. Oh No, you’ve gone all ‘the secret’ on us.

    ‘Some people are not aware that negative thinking attracts negative energy’.

    Get real,

    I’m not saying being negative is a good thing, far from it. but just telling yourself to be happy and thinking that the bad things that happen to you are somehow your fault because you attracted them with your negative thoughts is, in my opinion, a seriously damaging way to live your life. Telling other people this, is, I feel, irresponsible and naive to the situations other people find themselves in. Trust me when I say I don’t want to be hyperbolic, but are you going to tell a rape victim that they attracted it through negative thinking?! No, I know you wouldn’t.

    I like your intentions, I just had to give my opinion.

    And before anyone tries the hole hiding behind the computer stuff.. I am Ashley Reid, from England and you can find my pictures at;

    ashley-reid.co.uk
    the-reid-press.tumblr.com

    • So now you have turned this all upside down and twisted. Rape? Really? I’m talking about negative people who make themselves miserable and they are not even aware they are doing it. I never said or hinted that if you think negative you will be raped or murdered or attacked. We are our own worst enemies and being negative 24/7 destroys us from the inside. My life has never been better these past 3 years and my whole life has been wonderful. I have always been a positive upbeat person. Others who I see who are miserable just sit around and are negative to those around them all of the time. I see it day in and day out. Your opinion here had nothing to do with what I was talking about so it appears you misunderstood.

      • Yea, I know the mentioning rape was taking it totally over board, i was trying to hard to make the point.
        But, correct me if i’m wrong, your trying to link the positive things that happen to you to your mental attitude, (and so conversely, the negative to a negative attitude.) your success is down to a combination of hard work, talent and luck. you are extremely talented and i am sure you have put in more than your fair share of graft to get to where you are. The fact you are a happy chap maybe gives you opportunities due to people being happy to have you around. It has nothing to do with ‘energy’ and if you didn’t have the talent or put the hard work you wouldn’t have gotten anywhere, you would be sat staring at the wall’s telling yourself that everything is A-OK.

      • Steve, like you I do not find at all attractive the bile and scorn that is heaped upon any new camera to hit the market. I happen to think most of them are tremendous, some suit me and some don’t. But the cure for this nihilism is not a positive mental attitude.

        Ashley has hit upon the most pernicious of the problems of the cult of positive thinking; it ends with blaming the victim for their own misfortunes.

        It stems from the simple magical thinking nonsense that “negativity” beams out bad events somehow, and that thinking “positively” beams out good events and makes good things happen. It’s not true; and it’s a bad and dangerous belief because it denies reality.

        It’s also a deeply immoral stance. Instead of “positivity” I will take: Courage in the face of adversity. Humility in the face of good fortune. Equanimity in the face of success or failure. Empathy for the pain and suffering of others. Sadness in the face of tragedy. Industry in the face of too much to do with too little time. Charity for the unfortunate. Kindness towards strangers. Community with ones friends.

        I think it is a deeply irreligious stance too. If your own mental states are responsible for the things that happen to you then there is no longer any place for God, suffering, belief or redemption, free will, sacrifice and most importantly it undermines charity.

        Positivity denies all the greatness of which the human spirit is capable. It undermines all our achievements and cheapens our sacrifices.

        I’m truly glad that you have had a happy and sheltered life. Your success is due to good luck, hard work and dash of innate talent. It is not because the universe is rewarding you for your sunny disposition.

        • “It stems from the simple magical thinking nonsense that “negativity” beams out bad events somehow, and that thinking “positively” beams out good events and makes good things happen. It’s not true; and it’s a bad and dangerous belief because it denies reality.” – The thinking you write about here is dangerous. All I know is what I experience in life. When I had bouts of negativity in my life, my life sucked. When I think positive and take even bad events with a smile they always work out. Being positive can change someones life. I never said bad things would not happen to positive people as that would be idiotic. Bottom line is that life is MUCH better to go through being positive and happy than negative and bitter. It is better to help others instead of kick others. It is always better to smile than to frown. No matter what is going on in your life. Being negative will never do any good, and I speak from 40+ years of experience. Some of you took what I said WAY out of context.

  77. nothing wrong with a bit of negative thinking, gives you something to climb out of

  78. being happy cannot be a prime goal, that just smacks of me, me, me

    • +1 even if I think that it was not Steve’s point

      Indeed, thinking, gaining experience and analyzing facts realistically is what makes you stronger. But I still think that positive attitude can bring you some motivation… on a short time scale…

  79. C’m’on this post is NOT ridiculous, though I don’t like that much (which is very rare Steve :)) and disagree with the idea of positivism. BTW your link is quite informative, thanks but stop hating.

  80. Amen, brother!

    Scotty

  81. Steve, the shot with your son and that sweet Schwinn bike, reminds me of my youth in the 70′s. I cherished my Ross Apollo 5 speed muscle bike. Great picture that triggered a found memory, thank you.

  82. What’s all this “positive” and “negative” discrminiation. Come one, this is not Peter Pan’s land. We all are positive and negative, we all have both sides. Unhappy people deserve the same credit and recognition as happy people, in case one can define human beings as mainle happy or unhappy beings. And we’re not happy because we smiled in pictures when children. We were taught to smile. Smiles hide different feelings often. If one sees a list of american college students and one of, let’s say, danish or german ones, americans are invariably smiling and europeans keep a serious face. And that doesn’t mean at all a group is happier than the other. Americans are taught to smile when a picture of them is taken. There’s a huge pressure to do so. And many times people who advocate for positivity hold a strong inner negative side. Besides, in real life, negativity serves for a purpose: it increases tension in front of real problems, it helps to solve things. It keeps you alert. And, in a more transcendent way, in a buddhist way, there is no negative or positive. Things are, there is no polarity in real mind. But maybe I don’t know the great secret: owning a Leica makes you positive without a doubt. Solidly. With good old german internal technology.

  83. Thanks for writing this Steve. It proves to me that I am not the only one who has noticed this. It can be hard staying positive when you are surrounded by such negativity.

    The only reason people try to bring you down is because you are higher than them. Its their problem, not yours or mine. If they choose to be so miserable then thats their choice, let them get on with it.

  84. I enjoyed and agree with your post and have directed some friends who have no connection to photography to read it.

  85. 2 THUMBS UP :)

    All the way from Toronto, Canada, Eh!

  86. “It is ordained that to the ambitious, who derive no satisfaction from the gifts of life and the beauty of the world, life shall be a cause of suffering, and they shall possess neither the profit nor the beauty of the world.” – LEONARDO DA VINCI, Thoughts on Art and Life

    Let’s enjoy what we have!

  87. Criticism, however it is phrased or whatever the tone or intent, is often taken as offensive negativism by the receiver, because that receiver is seeking positive comments only; confirmation that he exists as a real person.

    During the festivities for Independence Day in Poltava, Ukraine, I ran into a group of Harakrishna’s, chanting, making music. Very happy, positive thinking people. I made some pics. At 6400 ISO.

  88. An excellent read on what is decidedly a shite day. Thank you.

  89. i agree with much of what you said but would add that it is a mistake to confuse balanced critical thinking with “negativity” and that ungrounded “positive optimism” is merely the shadow of “depressive negativity” ……. neither a healthy nor contributive state of being

  90. Thank you very much Steve!…I Love and admire positive people.

  91. Hi Steve,

    Loved this article, just like the one from Thorsten von Overgaard you’ve mentioned.
    It’s not always easy to practice a positive attitude, but I’m shure going to try to be more positive than I am.

    But a question: how do you react to people copying all your (photographic) ideas?
    A friend of mine is losing the pleasure off photography just because someone in her surroundings is copying her work right after she has posted her photo’s on for instance facebook.
    She has no joy in taking photo’s anymore and has even considered selling her camera.

    We all try to stop her from doing this, but do you have any tips (maybe in a blog).

  92. It gives no meening to become positive just for being “pseudo-positive”.
    What gives mening is to threat other people as you wish to be threatet yourself.
    And behave.
    But some people are hit by crises, finansiel, illness, depression or opression etc. that might give them a fair right to be negative.
    But these people also have to behave.
    But on the other hand, we, or those, who might be more priviledged and therefore ought to have more inner balance(/more mental “profit”), should be ready to forgive people who, for some reason might be hit by circumstances beyond their own control.
    Things are somewhat complex. For instance, its easy for rich people to claim against poor people, that they are just lazy or negative. And they just should think positive, and in a short moment they would be lifted out of poverty.
    If we want to live in a good society we have to behave and threat other people with respect and also with foregivnes.
    We shall take care not to put our fellow-society-member in boxes.
    And we shall try to take care of each others in a decent way.
    We shall try to be mentally large, even if we have good reasons for being negative.
    And we shall be aware, specially in these financial crises, that not all people are able to take care of their own happynes, even thought they might try hard to think positive. And if we are privilledged we ought to be ready to help those who aren’t.
    Its not allways enough to sing “Don’t worry, be happy”, allthough it might help a little :)
    But if you are persecuted by people who wishing bad things for you, thats another deal. You have to rely on, that they hopefully are getting tired of themselves. And try to forgive, if they suffer from envy or mental illnes.
    Best
    Thorkil

  93. Steve, I agree wholeheartedly. Thanks for your wisdom. Oh, and please keep on doing what you are doing! It can be hard when negativity intrudes, but I for one really appreciate your efforts on this site. I read it daily and look forward to it every morning. Also, love that opening photo of you with the Leica and EVF! Makes me want to own one! What a cool looking camera! And that Stingray your son has! My little brother had one just like that in about 1965!! Thanks Steve, Tom

  94. RC and Scott Kelby often talked about this negativeness and rudeness in comments on the websites, most of it is the feeling they are anonymous and then think they can say anything without repercussions.

    Steve i love this kind of posts from you and hope the see some more from time to time!

    And yes finally i got a Leica M6 with a Zeiss 50mm Planar, hope to make some great images in NY in october as i’m getting used to this different way of focussing as i’m used to the way Nikon works!

  95. I’ve thought about this when reading your camera reviews and other articles. You focus on the positive and productive points, yet still mentioning what could be improved about a particular camera or lens. However nothing is ever negative or cynical. It’s always about taking great photos. This is why I read your site.

  96. I’m happy with my photographs because they keep getting better, not because they are perfect or maybe even good in some absolute sense. I look forward to all the future improvement that is possible, the thrill of the each day’s “treasure hunt” for pictures that will matter to someone, and inspiration from others on sites like this. Good post.

  97. Hi Steve,
    Your most profound post yet, professor!

  98. Great post Steve. It’s too easy to get carried away into camera specs, lens rendering or fan-boy flaming wars. Sometimes we need to step back and think about why we visit your site, to see inspiring photos and learn from each other.

  99. That green bike seriously rocks!

    • I know! I had one as a kid and these were re-issues by Schwinn but they looked just like the originals, color and all. I shot that in 2003 I think with an M8 and Noctilux. The day I bought it for my son.

  100. Steve, I initially really enjoyed this post and for some reason I kept mulling it. As I did it began to trouble me. I don’t doubt your intentions or sincerity but it just seems to me there is a degree of the insouciant in it. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s opening lines to The Great Gatsby come to mind, “whenever you feel like criticizing any one, …just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” You seem like a great guy with a blessed life. Mazel tov. I also agree that frequently negativity begets negativity and can empathize how annoying negative, pessimistic people can be. Yet, I have learned, as a recovering pessimist, that the sources of our pain, the darkness within, are not to be shunned. They are indeed the source of all that is vital within us, a potential well spring of creativity. Pessimism, like arrogance or pride, is a defense mechanism. The real person, the person we ought to be and want to be, is in there somewheres. Perhaps the next time you encounter a hopelessly negative soul, it may be worth it to take a moment to just listen and be present with that person. Who knows, you just might be planting a seed for the start of a new life.

  101. This is a wonderful article. The picture of the girl at the end is truly a beautiful shot of a wonderful moment.

  102. There is ONE big problem with this happy happy joy joy thing – and that is the fact that many artistic people does not create when they are happy and joyfull, they need the dark and sad state to make their best work if its photography, painting or music etc…

    That said they should avoid other people because of what Huff just wrote.

  103. There are very many levels one may look the the positive and negative thinking. It all seems so obvious, but we so often do the exact opposite in the real life. It take a long time to learn how to appreciate the nice that the life brings and learn to accept that not so nice stuff that keeps happening even if we do our best to reach the opposite.

    So, thank you Steve for writing this article – I believe most of us can use a little reminder here and then.

    P.S. The bike shot is really great – did you put a lot of PS to it? It is so much standing out of the photograph that I nearly thought it is a collage :)

  104. Well said. Thank you Steve.

    Amen.

  105. Great post, Steve! So very true about how much negativity sucks and what it does to us. As a Christian, I am reminded of Jesus’ words in John 15.11 “…that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” When I feel this joy, I know exactly where it comes from.

    Keep up the great work!

  106. Hi Steve

    I think to add extra impact to your positivity, you need to change the banner to you very ‘Welcoming’ Website.

    I think is should read “STEVEHUFFHAPPYPHOTO.COM

    That should should slap the ‘Negatives’ right across the face as soon as they arrive :-)

    Keep it up

    Cheers

    Gav.J

  107. This is neo-liberal, semi-religious and childish-naive thinking. Books and articles about positive thinking have spread immensely since modern capitalism took over completely (around the early 1990s). It is meant to distract people from thinking politically and the essence is that it makes you feel guilty if your life doesn’t work as intended. It completely negates social, political and economic circumstances, and reduces human beings to isolated individuals – pure neo-con ideology. Ironically it is also cynical against all the poor people that really suffer from economic devastation, by stating that everyone is 100% self-responsible for their own happiness. The imperative to BE HAPPY, is in truth an Orwellian dystopy, a form of Disneyland-nightmare. And thinking further, it preventively forbids any basic and radical criticism, because it only happy and positive thoughts are allowed.
    And I wonder, what was the motivation for this piece?!

    Also, with that kind of attitude there would be no real art, only decoration. Or do you think that people like Francesca Woodman (http://tinyurl.com/d4l3n2n), Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, Gary Stochl or James Nachtwey were/are overly happy chappies? Wake up!

    • +1. Except for the “neo-liberal” part. But then, I’m European, so I wouldn’t know.

    • +1. And the anthem wil be the song: “Don’t worry, be happy…….”.

    • Lets be honest here….Steve was talking about a**holes who come on here and leave snotty comments and or email him. I think he was being very general when speaking and not making political statements on poverty or injustice in the world and how we should just all just use positive thinking to overcome it. I’m going to go on a limb and say the target demographic that uses this website to be a jerk are not in the socio-economic class you referenced. I’m the last person that wants to see any site turn into Candyland where lollipops abound but at the same time we’re all adults, we should know the difference between healthy debate and just being a d*ck.

      • Thanks John…yes indeed. In fact, this whole article was spurred from one individuals constant attacks OFF of this site..who went a little too far in his attempts to hurt me and this very website (not publicly, but behind the scenes..and while it didn’t work, it is the principal of the matter). The guy has issues with years of intense negativity towards just about anyone out there who is more popular than he is. Very odd. But this post can also go out to those who just sit around and bash others for no reason or are just being negative for the sake of being negative.

        This post was and is NOT about unfortunate people, homeless people, people who get raped (as one refer commented) or anything of that nature. Basic message is BE POSITIVE POEPLE! Be happy! Be caring and generous! Do these things and life has way of bringing positivity back to you. Don’t believe me? Try it :)

  108. :)

  109. I always try to read up on a subject, whatever it is. On positive thinking:

    http://www.peoplesrepublicofcork.com/forums/showthread.php?t=211031

    I’m not sure I agree with all of it though…

  110. This Site was some years ago …filled with passion about Leica and other gear..

    Than it became a Church of agree

    and now…. Positive Thinking…wow… when is the subscribement of the Positive-summit !

    BTW read all great Photogrphers in WAR-ZONES and Areas of Hunger and so on….
    They all see not a single prove of help if you THINK POSITIVE.

    So Positive or Negative, is a coincide of where you where born, what luck you had and it’s all in your own mind.

    So Steve and all the ‘Agree-ers’, Cut this crap and get back to your passion

  111. Darth Vader: Give yourself to the Dark Side. It is the only way you can save your friends. Yes, your thoughts betray you. Your feelings for them are strong. Especially for… sister. So, you have a twin sister. Your feelings have now betrayed her, too. Obi-Wan was wise to hide her from me. Now his failure is complete. If you will not turn to the Dark Side… then perhaps she will…
    Luke: [igniting light saber, screams] NO!

  112. When the context is seen and heard, it becomes even worse, and the excuses even more lame and shameful, Markin. Remaining positive in the face of such appalling nonsense requires application of the techniques we use everyday, be it in photography or any other enterprise – namely the ability to discriminate between good and bad design, manufacture, composition, marketing, materials, etc. Blindly accepting any rubbish will not see you remaining positive for too long.

  113. Thanks, Steve, for a great and thought provoking post. And you and Thorsten have both got it right: a positive and generous attitude towards the world really is reflected in ones photography!

  114. Negative = bad. Positive = good, right?
    Guess I should throw out all my Doors, Pink Floyd and Nine Inch Nails albums.
    Get rid of Catcher in the Rye, 1984, and Brave New World.
    Throw out my photo books of Joel Peter-Witkin, Robert Frank and Josef Koudelka.
    Might as well get rid of Hieronymus Bosch, Edvard Munch, and Francis Bacon … and why not Pablo Picasso?
    While I’m at it, I’ll throw out all my DVD’s by Stanley Kubrick, Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, Oliver Stone, Martin Scorsese, Roman Polanski, Quentin Tarentino, PT Anderson, etc., etc. etc.
    All so negative, and that equals bad, right?
    Thanks, but you can keep your Thomas Kincaid world, Steve. I’ll live happily in the dark side.

  115. Steve, for what it’s worth, I agree. It is our own choice whether to be happy, positive, joyful and not an accumulation of experience. We are always free to choose. People say they love my photos because they are full of people warmly smiling, or the rich beauty of nature. That’s what I see and experience and it has nothing to do with the so-called ‘problems’ of life, it is a world of beauty that exists alongside our thoughts and to me at least is more real than them.

    Not everyone has a perfect life, but anyone can choose to be happy, to be a positive influence on those around them. Photography is a great art for this, as you see the world afresh each moment. It can be a kind of meditation on what is real. There are so many nice surprises when we open our eyes (and mind) to them.

  116. Could this have been an instigator: http://aphotocontributor.typepad.com/aphotocontributor/

    Perhaps an occasional crossing of the swords is also a good thing in art.

  117. I am a psychiatrist and my hobby is photography.You are quite right!

  118. I come to your site for photography inspiration. This is a great bonus post. A reminder to keep being positive and good things will happen!

  119. Great post, Steve! I think many of us (me included) should be more positive in our everyday lives. Positivity cherish positivity. And I really do love my photos, no matter what others think. :) Your post really inspired me in my life and also in my photography. Thank you very much!

  120. You, Thorsten and Chris Weeks need to get together and have a chat ’bout photography, preferably over a few beers.
    And let bygones be bygones.
    And keep on shooting.

    • Nahhhh, Mr. Weeks is not my kind of guy. He is the type of personally that will suck you dry. The type I avoid for the very reasons written in this article. :) There are many here who took this article in the completely wrong way but I expected that. Things for me haven’t and will never change. I will always remain positive, always help others, always be a kind person and I will always avoid negativity, no matter who is spitting it out.

  121. Excellent as always Steve and perfect timing.Like a digital fortune cookie!
    Linda Matlow,Pix International

  122. I’m a realistic thinker. Working out fine to excellent.

  123. Funny thing is, the OP in his post throws a lot of negativism about. About other people, earmarked as unhappy, negative people.

    This is a common (socio-) psychological phenomenon: in order to elevate yourself, put other people at a lower, and apparently despicable, level. Great.

  124. Hi Steve
    Just a PS in all this. I remember for long time ago you went really mad at someone who criticized you in your way of reviewing camera’s, where I thought..UPS, that was some hefty overreaction and where I tried to say something about you just did things in your way, unscientific but straight ahead, and filled with life, instead of scientific examination, and it was free for people just to click away.
    But I just got that thought that often its better to back of, “draw your shoulders” and think “what the heck”, and instead of getting mad and offended at people (but yet I don’t know how much given person or persons have bothered you)its better to forgive and underscore that you are doing things in your way and we all are here by free will.
    But political and where people get oppressed or treated in a wrong way, it would be a disaster if the solutions should be to look inside themselves with a “be happy” mantra instead of fighting against unfairness, injustice or oppression. Then poor people would always then be poor and dictators would have an ideal scenario for themselves in rest of their lives, and rich people could carry on paying no or lesser taxes for for the common society, where the siciety is and will be the fundament for helping each other. Else the society will fall apart and sheer egoism will take over.
    On the contrary we have to contribute to fight against oppression and against poverty and we have to share our richness, mental and moneywise, so that fewer people will have an objective reason for being “negative”, considering the basic survival/living-circumstances. By that way we will all get a better life and we will all feel more “positive”.
    :)
    Best
    Thorkil
    ps. and please get your old lively enthusiasm back

  125. Hi Steve,
    Just a hello from Switzerland and, I hope, some positive waves in response to the enthusiasm you are offering us regularly. It is appreciated. Jean-Claude

  126. Michiel, it’s an interesting phenomenom. Sometimes it’s done as “display”
    behaviour where it’s just as important to announce your position as it is to illustrate it by example. The observer is to think, well, he/she MUST be hip and
    really fun. Early in Med. School we came across the plethora of genetic diversity (very important for survival of a species) and its phenotypic manifestations; an important ‘message’ was emotional/personality types are part of that expression. To expect everyone to conform to the idiotic Bobby McPheran(?)lyrics or else knock them for deliberate obtuseness or dourness is not very smart. We can all try to be somewhat positive (after all, good manners requires making those around you feel comfortable) but thank God for diversity!

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