Falling in love with your life
October 20, 2010
Crusoe and Positivism
Filed under: challenges, determination — Tags: challenges, Crusoe, positivism, travel, discovery, determination, countereffect — aliciacastillo @ 10:26 am
Whenever you feel that you are stuck, in a situation where you can longer prosper, using the method described in Robinson Crusoe will help immensely.
Published in 1917, the novel takes us through the journey of a castaway in a remote island in the Caribbean. Think about it, the poor guy is stranded in a deserted island, with nobody to talk to, hungry, naked, lost… Slowly but surely he starts building his nest and on the few occasions he finds other people, they are either cannibals or pirates, rescuing a cannibal whom he called Friday. He waits and waits to be rescued… and over and over he needs to find hope when hope is lost. No wonder, Crusoe felt depressed.
As the story shows, we are not our circumstances, but our approach to them. At one point, he sits down to write the evil and the good in his situation. In a nutshell (and following the book’s language) he writes for example:
Evil: I am alone
Good: I was saved
Evil: I am hungry
Good: there is food around (I’m not in winter)
Evil: I have no clothing
Good: the weather is not cold
And so the list goes on… for each negative, he finds a counterpart that is positive. So, instead of thinking that he has landed in paradise, he goes onto crafting a way of thinking that both acknowledges the negatives that he experiences but at the same time forces his brain to think about the positives.
Using this Minus-Plus system helps us stretch our brain, and by doing so, we are rebooting our neuronal connections, reinforcing the positive connections that are not cared for when we feel sad, stressed or frustrated. At the same time, we are responsibly acknowledging that the negative has its space… a space that has to be shared not filled!
This is by the way, one of the basis of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, used by psychotherapists to treat some mental illnesses.
Fall in love with your life…
FYI: the original novel was written by Alan Dafoe under this looooooong title: The Life and strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un-inhabited Island on the coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, where-in all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver’d by Pyrates. Written by Himself”