The pleasure of tuning out the negative:

Peaceful place

The pleasure of tuning out the negative:

A blog by Graham Wardle.


I’ve just read the words above in a book on Stoicism, and subsequently had a brief but interesting conversation with a friend. Being able to tune out the negative voice in your mind when necessary is, in no uncertain terms, a worthwhile ability to develop. It’s not something I’ve completely mastered yet, but over the years I’ve got closer and closer, and one of the things that has helped is the following line of thought: “Be a good person, make the world better in whatever small way you can, and inspire others to do the same. Leave the anger-inducing parts of life, especially the parts that are out of your control, well alone”.

“This is much easier said than done” you might think, and you’d be right.

Trying not to focus on the things that make you angry is a difficult skill to master, as the world is an unjust place, but getting even part of the way there is life-changing, not only for your own mental health, but also for your ability to affect the world around you. It takes effort, but it’s effort well-spent.

Such a mentality requires years of practice. The adult human mind in particular is stubborn and set in its ways, and it takes a long time to change. Just as with the physical transformation of an unfit, overweight body to the body of an athlete, it doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time, consistent effort, and patience. However, if you practice this mindset just a little bit every day, over time, your efforts will compound, and it will become a habit.

A helpful perspective:

So, with that in mind, see if you agree with the following perspective: “If we all just focused on being the best version of ourselves, every day, as hard as it may be at the beginning, the world would gradually become a better place, and future generations will, without doubt, benefit from our efforts.”

If you’re attracted to this line of thought, you might find the following mental tool helpful in moving towards it. Ask yourself the question: “what could I do today, that would make me a slightly better version of the person I was yesterday”? Once you have the answer, give it a go, you have nothing to lose. The more you repeat this process, the better you’ll get at it, and the easier you’ll find it.

An unpleasant truth:

Hardships, negativity, and anger-inducing injustice are inevitable elements in everyday life; they are shoved down our throats at every turn, and really are hard to ignore. The best response to all this is to cultivate the mindset of: “okay, so in the midst of all this chaos, what is within my control? What can I, personally, do to improve my own life and potentially the lives of others? What can I do to improve the world around me in my own small way, and help bring a little bit of order to this chaos?” Once you have an idea, give it a go. Once you start to habitually focus on being the strongest version of yourself that you can be every day, not only will you feel more fulfilled as a human being and more likely to reach your goals in life, but you will be better fortified against the tragedy and suffering that is an inherent part of being itself, and will find your route to thriving in spite of it!!

So practice this skill.

Every day, try to improve a little on the person you were the previous day, and tune out the elements of your life that you can do nothing about. If you do this consistently, then who knows where you could be, or who you could become, or what effect you could have on the world around you over the coming years?

Personally, I don’t feel there is a more exciting thought that a person can have.


PS: The benefits of developing a strong mentality, along with strategies on how to achieve it, are discussed in detail in my recent book ”BUILDING WARRIORS’. A description of this book is available on this site.