“If principles do not lead to growth, find new principles.”
For my whole life, until a few months ago, I didn’t realize I was an extremely negative person. It didn’t show to most people, because I’ve learned to be painfully polite over the years. A lot of this had to do with principles (or assumptions, mindsets, attitudes, paradigms, whatever you want to call them). My thoughts had been running in this direction for so long, I have mental ruts. I immediately imagine the worst case scenario for everything. No wonder all I wanted to do was retreat from the world.
This was also affected by my theology. I grew up in a conservative Baptist church, and for a period in the 1990’s, the church was really into end times, the rapture, etc. So I grew up in a culture who’s underlying message was “the world stinks, you stink, and it’s all going to end soon, thank God.”
I discovered how bleak my outlook was when I was reading NT Wright’s Surprised by Hope, which delves into what the very early church believed about the resurrection, heaven, etc. I won’t preach to you here about my specific beliefs about God and the church, because my point is more general. It switched my mindset from “everything is pointless and ending soon” to “the things I do matter to this world, in a concrete way.”
If you want experience what someone who’s sold on that idea is like, read Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs, or just watch a few videos of Jobs. It turns out that people who think they can make a change are the people who make a change. Who’d a thunk it.
Hopefully you have the space in your life to examine stuff like this, do some introspection, and find the healthy mindsets that will let you be an effective human.