Aug 222011

There is a phenomenon in medical school called Medical Student Syndrome. Students that study certain, often frightening deseases wind up often feeling the same symptoms that the desease gives to the genuine patients. This happens more often than most people realize, highlighting how our minds are incredibly powerful sponges, absorbing thoughts and influences that surround us.  The power of suggestion is far stronger than people realize.

Yet, we choose to surround ourselves with pessimistic people, many of whom are dominated by jealousy, lack of integrity, and lack of confidence. We choose to watch TV shows and movies full of broken families, broken promises, steamy infidelity, backstabbing, and murder.  We choose to read all the newspaper stories about kidnapped kids, crashing investments, growing national debt, and sleazy politicos caught with their hand in the cookie jar. People find a lot of this very entertaining, without realizing the downside it has on their personal attitude.

I believe this mist of negativity surrounding us has a much larger effect than we realize — we start feeling the symptoms of pessimism just like those medical students feel the symptoms of the desease they study each week. Your attitude is determined by what you think about the most.

There are simple fixes, if you decide to make some choices. Improve the quality of the friends and associates that you hang out with, one friend at a time. Do you have a friend with a constant negative undercurrent, the person that you would rank as the least positive friend that you have? Make the choice to talk to him or her far less often. Find a new positive friend. In the longer run, trade out the negative people for positive people until you have surround yourself with positive, optimistic people. This will have a profound effect on your attitude.

Skip the next Desperate Housewives TV series and start writing that first novel instead. Stop reading news that has no positive effect on your life. Start going to the gym and working out — the gym tends to contain a lot of optimists.

These are simple steps that make a huge difference.  Garbage in produces garbage thinking and garbage out. Quality begets quality.

I. M. Optimism Man

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