Call to accentuate the positive…

4 June 1999

Call to accentuate the positive…

Excuses and negative thinking

are diseases that can blight

your life according to a new

book which promotes

positive words as the

antidote. Mike Stones

takes the medicine

EXCUSES. Dont we just love them? The long elaborate explanation as to why our wheat isnt as thick as our neighbours crops. The little white lie we told Auntie Vera about why we were late for dinner.

No stranger to the seductive power of excuses is Neil James. But he knows too the dangers of relying on excuses and the negative thinking that accompanies them. To turn the tide of negativity in his own life, and in others, Neil wrote a book* that was published in April.

"Good excuses win you all the attention and invite people to say poor you," acknowledges Neil. "But they have a sinister side, too. At worst, they can be cancers that eat away at our power to take charge and direct our own lives."

He believes the disease infects its victims like this: People become so infected by the seductive and comforting bacteria of excuses and negative thinking that they surrender responsibility for their own lives. They became victims; hostages to fate lacking the power to control their own lives. Whether its falling farm profits or an outbreak of TB in their cattle herd, the victim sees no way out other than to suffer in misery and often to make others in the family miserable too.

Neils remedy is to retake control of your life, whatever the circumstances. "Taking responsibility means going beyond excuses. It means letting them go so you can get on with your life," he says.

Although he acknowledges that, try as we might, we simply cannot influence some circumstances, he is quick to stress that we always retain one precious gift. That gift is the ability to choose our attitude to events in our lives.

So, however black the despair, however dire the financial difficulty, however insoluble the problem, Neil believes there is always a seed of hope. "Search for that seed of hope and nourish it and youre well on the way to treating the diseases of excuses and negative thinking," he recommends.

The first and most difficult step is to accept that we are where we are because of the choices we have made. "If people can accept that simple, difficult fact, they can find out what motivates them. Then, they can cure the old blame/excuse disease by reclaiming responsibility for their lives and working towards their goals."

Essential medicine in this cure is the power of positive thought and positive words. And to help administer this much needed medicine, Neil wrote The A-Z of Positive Thinking. Its not so much a book as a pharmacy stocked with positive word capsules.

Arranged in alphabetical order, its a list of positive words to be taken regularly as an antidote to negative words, thoughts and attitudes. "Its not difficult to see where all the negativity in life comes from," explains Neil. "There are three times as many negative words (5890) in the English language as there are positive ones (1705)."

So the dangerous likelihood of negative words or thoughts popping into our heads can best be guarded against by keeping a vaccine of positive words to hand at all times. Slipping these words into your conversation at home and at work will evoke feelings of strength and control, he promises.

But be warned: This is powerful medicine. True to his positive words, Neil makes no apology or excuses for the health warning printed in his little book: "You may find some side effects catch you unawares. One common consequence is you may find yourself smiling and laughing uncontrollably at the strange negative antics of those around you who are not on the same medication.

"Do not be discouraged. These capsules are very, very good for you. Keep taking the tablets."

* The A-Z of Positive Thinking: A New Vocabulary to Change Your Life, Neil James, Hodder & Stoughton, £2.99.


&#8226 Always grumbling and moaning.

&#8226 Never smile.

&#8226 Never have anything good to say about anything or anyone.

&#8226 Always prefer to see the negative side of any situation.

&#8226 Always have an excuse ready.

&#8226 Never accept personal responsibility for anything preferring to blame others.

The important issue

is not so much

what we think we want,

but more a case

of what we want

to think.

Grant me the

serenity to accept

the things that I cannot change, the courage to change those that I can,

and the wisdom to

know the difference.

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