While some might argue the following, in my opinion there are two choices in life: positivity or negativity. (Spoiler Alert: positivity begets positivity just as negativity begets negativity).

We are all constantly being bombarded, available 24 hours a day, with news. Unless one sticks their head in the sand and tunes out all extraneous “distractions” (and that is not always a bad idea) it is practically impossible to avoid it.  And it is usually bad news.  Such is, all too often, the nature of “news” and, sadly, the world.

The good news—literally and figuratively speaking—is that there is plenty of good news out there.  You just have to look for it.

Which requires, at times and for the most part, an effort.

In my last guest blog I suggested that we should [try to] stop and smell the flowers. In this second blog I suggest we MUST SEEK out the good news (HINT: you are surrounded by it).

The “good” around us is abundant. Whether in our work, our family, friends, co-workers, etc. we can’t help but be surrounded by positivity which requires no looking and little or no effort (unless we’re talking Thanksgiving dinner, with the belligerent Uncle or “fill-in-the-blank”, in which case all bets are off).

But I am not talking about that kind of good.  I’m talking about an antidote to watching, reading, speaking or hearing about one awful bit of news after another. After another.

You gotta look.

I was extremely fortunate growing up in New York City, surrounded by…well…pretty much everything you can imagine.  I lived on 57th Street between 8th & 9th Avenue for a large part of my adult life—close to Broadway, close to the Metropolitan Opera, close to…well…everything. And I took advantage of everything.

But just because Carnegie Hall was two blocks away did not mean I went in. I did, often, but only because I would constantly scan the “news” for an artist I was interested in seeing. If I did not open a paper—usually the bearer of “bad news”—to see jazz pianist Keith Jarrett was playing his once-yearly concert, I would not have known, or gone.

If I had not been reading the papers—beyond the headlines (in other words, making an effort to look elsewhere)—I wouldn’t have known jazz pianist (and it’s not only jazz pianists who interest me) Michel Petrucciani was playing at Birdland; shortly before he died!

These are but two examples of many, and each required an effort. An effort to discover and an effort to attend.

Do you want “good news” and positivity? Go beyond the headlines. Head to other sections of the newspaper. Head to your local church or synagogue or mosque, if any of those are appealing to you. Head to the local ballpark—it need not be MLB– and watch a baseball game, whether you know someone playing or not.

Make an effort to be around as many positive people as you can. When feasible, avoid “energy-vampires” at all costs—we cannot always—people, including friends, who suck the positive energy from within you. I am not saying to abandon friends [people] going through difficult times but people who—and you know who I am referring to—seem to be constantly a negative drain on your otherwise sunny disposition.

The most precious thing we possess is our time. Regardless of how rich you might be—financially speaking—you cannot buy more time. (You cannot even buy back the last 5-10 minutes you wasted reading this piece). Make it count.  Make it positive.


The author of this blog, Jay Levine, is a very dear friend of mine who lives in the great state of Maine with his lovely wife, Elizabeth Ernst.