Purposefully Unhappy: Why Negativity Pays Dividends

In my book, I keep looking for reasons people want to experience negative emotions and why they think they cannot live without them. Said, they believe that they are getting something from it.

The Most Hated People Alive

Take Donald Trump, for example. He is considered one of the most hated people globally, yet he is the president of the USA. How is it possible? For a while, I used to say that his negativity gave him an air of strong character. Specifically, most people go along with the social quo, so having someone else do the same is not impressive. However, when someone challenges the common belief, things get more exciting, and that person is seen as someone who had the guts to step up.

Most people are always conforming, trying to be liked, and striving to please others. Said they are trying to avoid any conflict. This creates a niche market for people who want to do the opposite: go against the norms, rules, and strictly complementary views in life. They strive in the conflict, negativity, and agony of others. They even get paid to harm others occasionally. They play with a thrill of not being caught, becoming the enemy of the enemy, and just the sense of freedom of doing whatever they want.

Some people purposefully build a life around this non-conformity. Politicians and Donald Trump are often put into this category, but others like Justin Ross Lee, author of the book Don’t You Know Who I Think I Am, or even Tucker Max, author of several books, including I Hope to Serve Beer in Hell. Both of these authors (Trump is not included in the list of writers as he never wrote a single book; he paid other people to do it for him) show how they strive in the art of non-conformity and how richly they are rewarded for it.

The Currency Of Negativity And Negative Emotion

People love the radicalness and the humor that comes from seeing others trying to be an idiot, jerk, and radical non-conformist. They want to read about them in the news, visit them on TV, and discuss them with their friends. Gossip, gossip, gossip.

Reversely, people who use negative emotions as a currency love that attention! They bask in it. It takes them places. Even if most people don’t like these perpetrators of negativity, the few people who do more than make up for the for the others that don’t. In fact, the more we hate these people, the more attention they get, so we are doing them a favor by hating them so much.

Currency Of Negativity And The Rest Of Us

And the rest of us? We are stuck somewhere in the middle. Occasionally, life forces our hand, and we are forced to act, think, and feel negative. We are forced to be like Donald Trump, Justin Ross Lee, or Tucker Max, even if this does not fit our positive self-image. So what can we do?

For one, we can take a page from the book of the purposefully negative people and realize that thinking, acting, and feeling negative can give us something. There is creation in destruction. There is good in everything wrong. There is bad in everything good!

We should embrace the negativity and the positivity of life experiences. At the very least, they make us stronger as individuals or teaching us some valuable about life. Even in the most damaging events, we can find something new, positive, and beautiful.

How The Happiest People In The World Approach Negativity

In my life, case in point, whenever something negative happens, I don’t even consider the negative. First, I look at what positive could be hiding inside the negative event. Then, I try to find a solution to the negative event that happened. I make a plan, and I execute. At no point am I crying, feeling sorry for myself, or ask people to feel pity for me. Why should I? What the point?

There is no point. I know negative things happen all the time. It’s not only possible, but it’s also probable. So if we know that bad things will happen, why feel negative when they do occur? It’s not like you didn’t realize that a negative event would happen! I just told you it would happen, and it will continue to happen again and again in your life (sure, positive events will happen too, but this is not the point). It is way better to be prepared and have a plan of action, like the one I described to you above.


So what should you take from this article? Ideally, it would help if you started looking at the negative events from a positive perspective. You should start asking yourself, “what is positive in this negative event?” (In fact, looking for positive in negative events is the game happiest people most like to play!) Then, look at what you need to do to fix the problem that you are currently having. Then, execute on that plan. If you do only this, you won’t have any more bad days :).

Picture of Roman Russo: Author of Optimal Happiness

Roman Russo: Author of Optimal Happiness

Roman Russo wasn't always happy and struggled with his own negative emotions, anxieties, and depression, until one day he pledged to resolve this part of life, whatever it took. The journey took 6 years, but it was worth it. Today, Roman considers himself to be one of the happiest people alive, part of the 1% of the happiest elite, and he now teaches others a working and universal happiness formula to reach a similar goal. He offers his best advice on Optimal Happiness social media, newsletter, blog, and books, and teaches a complete and unconditional happiness formula in his online courses.

2 thoughts on “Purposefully Unhappy: Why Negativity Pays Dividends”

  1. But I am not sure it works the other way. I love the game of looking for the positive in a negative — which sometimes devolves into absurdity — and I am definitely not one of the “happiest people.”

  2. Sorry to take so long to reply James, as I just noticed your response. The blog post was written almost 5 years ago and I am currently trying to review and improve past content. As a much better writer now, I naturally have a better understanding of the topic than before. Some of the previous content may seem incomplete and outdated, but I am actively trying to review over 300 blog posts, in addition to writing new content. It’s a lot of work, but I still appreciate your support!

    That being said, at the age of 25, I experienced the biggest depression of my life and couldn’t figure out what was wrong or how to fix it. I also wasn’t “one of the happiest people.” However, I made a commitment to figure it out, and today I can confidently tell you that happiness is possible regardless of who you are, where you are from, and what your life circumstances are (using “you” in a general sense). I have witnessed incredible transformations, so I am sure it is also possible for you if you want it.

    Furthermore, it may seem absurd to be overly happy to the point of being delusional, but often people take certain life events more seriously than they should. Therefore, being happy is not as farfetched as it may appear.

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“The problem is that of optimization,” states Roman Russo, author of Optimal Happiness: The Fastest & Surest Way To Reach Your Happiest Potential. There is plenty of advice on how to be happier or less sad, but no one is speaking about how to become the happiest we can be. And this is the difference that makes all the difference. By not looking at our maximum potential for happiness, we fall short of achieving it. After all, we all have hundreds of ideas on how to be happier or less sad, but most people still feel like they are not living their best lives. As such, Optimal Happiness explores the question of how to be the happiest we can be, regardless of who we are, where we are from, and what our life circumstances are. It proposes a complete and unconditional formula for happiness and explains how you too can become happy today and forever, inviting you to join the 1% happiness elite and become one of the happiest people alive.

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