A curation of thoughts

The Underneathness tries to share intelligent, fresh perspectives on what shapes us and our world.

I’ve put together a curation of pieces my readers have loved most and you can download it here.

The Underneathness – a curation of thoughts

Why I choose Samuel Beckett over positive thinking, any day

I believe we can learn more about what it takes to succeed from the closing assertion of Beckett’s The Unnamable than any other motivational book

You must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on.

This insight about the need for persistence in the face of obstacles and even despair offers no illusions about what it takes to keep going or false promises that success will be great when you get  ‘there’ (wherever that is).

This is useful advice. We should be given more of it.

Instead, we’re meant to be inspired by motivational cries and images of a positive Duracell-style achiever who stares doubt in the face and relentlessly bangs the drum; pitting the emotional equivalent of an airbrushed model against our puny efforts.

This makes us feel bad.

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Try real over ‘positive’

Like so many platitudes there is some value to: be positive.

It suggests that the way we view life impacts our experience and that is borne out by research.

Shawn Achor shows that knowing someone’s circumstances predicts as little as 10 per cent of their long-term happiness, wellbeing is largely determined by what we make of things. Achor believes that being authentically positive creates a ‘happiness advantage’ that increases intelligence and creativity.

It’s destructive when ‘be positive’ is used as a catch-all-cure-all with no bearing on the circumstances of the person who is reaching out for support, which is challenging enough for most people as it is.

Say you’re struggling with a complex project that keeps getting derailed. What you need is insight, advice, and suggestions on how you might approach it differently and instead you get: just be positive. How useless.

Chin up darling, solider on.

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