Why do we listen to the prophets of doom?

For me a prophet of doom is someone who is habitually expressing the negative or pessimistic views of whatever is going on despite a general feeling that things were going well or at least getting better.

‘Hey, we have a vaccine’

‘It will probably poison us all’

Or even better..

‘We have a vaccine’

‘It is the dark powers just trying to control us’

You must know these, you might even be one, doom sayers are everywhere. Is the sun is shinning it is too hot, if not is is too cold, too wet, too dry, whatever it is, it is never right and it never will be. The role of the doom sayer is to tell you how bad it all is and to reinforce this negative message at every opportunity.

Human consciousness is such a powerful tool that it can solve problems, 

except those that it believes that it cannot.

Listen to those around you

Try this one, go to three different places, maybe after C-19 restrictions, cafes, waiting rooms, bus stops, or whatever, and listen to the conversation being carried on by those around you, what do you hear? Are the people around you sharing positive or negative things? Are they counting their blessing or bemoaning their woes? Are they sharing how good their live’s are or reciting the badness in their everyday?

Bad news is good news. It is bad news that sells papers and promote news channels. We seem unable to avoid tuning into it. Current research suggests that for most people the average negative dominance of their thoughts and conversation is about 70%. That means that for most of us we spend about 70% of our time thinking, feeling or talking about negative things. 

What are we doing this for? 

If we could track back in evolutionary time we could probably find a point where it became good for our development to be negative. Perhaps it was an obsession with danger that kept us safe. Or maybe the fear of starvation made us critical of their that wasted precious resources. However it began and however it developed it is with us today and maybe is developing. It is certainly true that every person who develops and maintains the habit of negative dominance becomes a drop in the ocean of negative consciousness that affects us all everywhere in the world.

Hoarders abound

As the waves of Covid flow around us and the Brexit deadline gets ever closer the bad news that we are presented with is that the shelves in the supermarkets will be empty. The negative fear drives us to hoard food and resources, ‘just in case’. From an evolutionary perspective this is a good strategy that will ensure survival. From a modern point of view all it means is that we increase our anxiety and stress and damage our mental health and well being.

Does it have to this way?

We know that we are habit machines. We are each the sum total of all that we have learned since our birth. We are all of the habits that we have developed throughout our life. We learned our habits through observation. Our children are doing the same in their observation of us. Are we demonstrating positive or negative behaviours to our children?

We can pass the habit of negative dominance down to the next generations so that it will become accepted to them as their normal behaviour. Remember, a habit is something that requires no effort and no will power to enact, we simply just do it. It becomes who we are, how we see ourselves and how we see the world, it becomes ‘normal behaviour’.

Be informed not inundated

Having listened to others talking try the news broadcasts. List the positive stories and the negative stories. What is the dominance, negative or positive? Just think about it. If this is the diet of information that we are receiving every day then it is little wonder that we have negative thoughts and feelings. We need to be aware of the news, we need to be informed but we do not need to be inundated by a sea of negativity. We begin to realise that with all this negative recitation and rumination how can we ever have a positive dominance in our thoughts and feelings. 

Time to change

To change you need to do two main things, 1: Stop listening to the sources of negativity and 2: start listening to the sources of positivity. This means stop listening to ever repeated news broadcasts and move away from people that you know who keep reciting negative messages.

The prophet of doom in your head

Do you really know yourself? Spend sometime listening to your self. Listen to what comes out of your mouth but also to your inner thoughts and feelings. As you become aware of what is happening inside you begin to observe how your system responds to negative messages. These may be news items or come from what other people are saying. What do you do with them? Do you grab them and play with them, reject them, get angry, sad? Just observe what you are doing and how you are handling it. Be aware of how your body responds. You might react to negative news/information with a in take of breath, with a flutter in your tummy, with a surge of anger or sadness. Whatever it is become aware of it.

As you observe watch what you do. Do you let negativity go? Do you challenge it? How does it make you feel? The point is that like all things being positive or negativity is a choice. Only you can decide how you respond and react to all the things that happen around you.

To back to the question at the beginning, the reason that we listen to the prophets of doom is because that is the habit that we have developed. In listening to negative messages we we feed them and encourage ongoing negativity. It is another case of what we feed grows and what we starve dies. If we stop giving it attention it, eventually, goes away.

Take care be happy and practise being a prophet of hope rather than a prophet of doom.

Sean x

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