Accentuate The Positive, E-Lim-In-Ate The Negative!

Sometimes song lyrics can provide just as much value quote-wise as ancient philosophers, so I’m using one for this self improvement article..!

After all, what is a lyricist if not a philosopher? Ok, ok, not *all* song lyrics stand the test of time, but I do like this one.

I only recently came across the song, on a you tube video of Bing Crosby singing it with Bette Midler, of all people. I have no idea how I came across it, whether it was someone sending me the link, spotting it on social media or you tube suggesting it, but however it came across my path, I smiled at the lyric from the first listen!

In fact, the song goes on to say that we should spread joy to the maximum, bring gloom to the minimum, that we should have faith or pandemonium is likely to spread across the scene.

It may sound corny to suggest that we should be happy & positive all the time, spreading joy all the time, but as I’m taking a closer look at the personal development value of the lyric, I’m going to bring in some brain science, and also point out something that the nay-sayers might have missed…

It probably *is* corny to suggest that we should be happy, smiley, positive all the time. That’s not how life works, and if we try to act like that we will end up burning out and dismissing the whole concept of positivity, so it’s vital that we accept that life can be difficult.

Life can be *extremely* difficult. I understand that, in fact a phrase I use a lot is that ‘life isn’t always rainbows and sequins, but when it is, soak those suckers up’.

"Gordon Bryan", "Accentuate The Positive",

The song itself says bring gloom down to the minimum, it doesn’t say there won’t ever be any gloom in the first place, or that gloom can be got rid of altogether!

Here’s where the brain science comes in, and I find it fascinating…

When we absorb what is happening around us in the world, whether by sight, sound, touch, smell, or taste, the various receptors we have send the feedback to our brain. Our brain doesn’t just make a first-time judgement on the information it’s receiving – it makes a comparison.

That’s a key point behind this article, the comparison that the brain makes. It makes a comparison between what it’s receiving, and the internal model already established in the brain. The default setting is to validate the already existing internal model.

So, it follows that if we have an internal model which shows things in a negative light, that we can’t achieve anything, that the world is against us, our brain will tend to look to interpret input from the world in a way that validates that negative model.

Similarly, if we have an internal model that views things in a positive way, that we *can* achieve things, that the world is out to help us, then we will interpret things in a way that validates that positive model.

That’s brain science, and it forms the basis of lyrics such as the one I’m featuring here.

We each have our *own* internal model of the world, unique to us, because it’s been developed ever since we were born. We’ve been directed, either consciously or unconsciously, to believe certain things are true, and as we grow older, we get into a self perpetuating cycle of verification of the model.

It takes a certain level of decision and determination to understand this process, and more again to set about changing the internal models.

It’s worth the effort though. In fact, it’s vital to do so, because if we want to change results, we need to change behaviours, and to change behaviours we need to change attitude, and that means adjustments to the internal model we carry around with us.

I also love how the song says ‘Don’t mess with Mr. Inbetween.’ In my view, that means that if our brain gets some incoming information, and it’s not immediately sure whether it fits with a positive or negative internal model, this is where we can *choose*! It’s up to us to direct our own brain to interpret the input as validating the positive model. If we’re not pro-active about, Mr. Inbetween starts to mess around, and can tip us into going for the negative model.

So, we could do a lot worse than pay attention to Johnny Mercer’s song lyrics – while accepting that gloom exists, we can bring it down many levels rather than let it have dominance, and we can do this by latching on to the good things, which accentuates the positive.

It’s a technique that will actually change the way we *think*! Try it, it can change your life – it can transform it!

Ok, I’d love to hear what you think – do leave a comment!

‘Til Next Time,
Health & happiness,
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