Hard-Wired for Pessimism


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Pessimism is our tendency. We are all naturally hard-wired that way. Our initial response to unexpected events is pessimism. Why? Blame the amygdala. The amygdala is the seat of negative emotions. Those negative emotions, worry, anger, fear and anxiety, have served humans well.

Negative emotions have been around since the dawn of man. They act like a radar system, looking out for environmental dangers that could imperil our very existence. They are part of our fight or flight response system, alerting us to threats from our environment. The amygdala, raises the red flag, alerting us to potential dangers. It’s supposed to be a temporary thing. The amygdala is supposed to quiet down, allowing the prefrontal cortex, the command and control center of the brain, to go to work, solving the threat.

The problem, however, is that due to chronic stress, the amygdala remains on high alert in most people. This is bad. According to the latest science, negativity shuts down the prefrontal cortex. As a result, solutions to problems remain elusive. When you are perpetually negative, you are literally shutting down half of your brain, making it impossible for you to find solutions to the problems you encounter in life. 

Successful people, however, have conditioned themselves to be positive. When a problem, threat or unexpected event occurs, their positive mental outlook works to silence the amygdala, allowing the prefrontal cortex to get right to work solving the problem, threat or unexpected event. But, here’s the important thing – successful people weren’t born different from everyone else. They worked hard to develop a positive mental outlook. 

In my research I discovered some of the tricks the self-made millionaires used to create a positive outlook on life: daily exercise, journaling, scripting your ideal life, expressing gratitude every day, meditating and associating with other positive people, while avoiding negative people. I’ve written extensively about each one of these positivity tools.

If you are alive you will confront problems. That’s just life. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, there will always be problems. To turn off the negativity bias inside your brain, you must make an effort to stop negativity in its tracks. Every problem has a solution. When you confront problems with a positive mental outlook, you are able to shut down the negativity bias inside your brain and when you do, positive solutions will manifest out of thin air.

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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley is a bestselling author, speaker, and media contributor for Business Insider, CNBC and a few other national media outlets.

His Rich Habits research has been read, viewed or heard by over 50 million people in 25 countries around the world.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, holds a master’s degree in taxation and is President of Cerefice and Company, a CPA firm in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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  1. Lack of self-confidence must be the reason and it is hard for us to face life, sometimes we are just afraid to go out of our comfort zone, am I right?

    • From my research, you gain confidence by taking action and overcoming obstacles. The more action you take and the more obstacles you overcome, the more success you experience and the greater your confidence. You can’t think your way out of low confidence. Confidence is a byproduct of succeeding.

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