This was a frontispiece of Voltaire's Candide,...

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I made one of my goals not to entertain negative talking of any kind.  Negative talking just sucks your energy out – energy that you need to be creative and get better at what you do best.  With so many people around you exuding negativity or not into positive talk, how do you do that?  It is simple, by making the effort.  You may catch yourself giving in into negative thinking or negative talk – and when you do, change the tune, change the channel, reverse the process.

If other people start talking negative around you, excuse yourself if possible, if not, change the conversation.  If changing the conversation does not work, then kindly and in a friendly tone say that you have made your personal goal not to talk about anything that is not positive.  This will put the ball on your court, as your personal project, and the other person will not be offended.  In addition, you are not mentioning the word negative, you are just saying “anything that is not positive,” so the person doesn’t feel attacked.

It may be difficult in the beginning, but I have found that when I am around any type of negative talk, I feel drained and sad, so I decided to cut that issue.  This does not mean that you cannot lend a friendly ear to a friend that is going through a hard situation.  This is different; it means the kind of talk that does not edify, puts you down or anybody else, and has no true meaning.

I have found that when I am around negative people my creativity suffers.  You can find negative people anywhere – post office, supermarket, work … sometimes even making small talk while waiting on line at the store.  I remember this line from an episode of the old series Kung Fu “When words are not better than silence, it is best not to pronounce them.”  I was a kid when I watched the series, but for some reason, that phrase stood with me until adulthood.  It is good advice.