This morning my friend Patrick Rhone published a short piece called Right Speech.
In Buddhism, Right Speech is one of the precepts in The Noble Eightfold Path. In short, it is to abstain from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, and from idle chatter. It is to consider carefully and mindfully what you say before saying it — weighing how it furthers the recipient of the message. If what we say does not further understanding, come from a place of compassion, or has no true purpose, it should not be said.
I have been bad at this lately.
The post is an apology for his own negativity, but whether he knew it or not, it was something I also needed to hear.
As some readers will remember, I vowed at the beginning of 2015 that I would “Eliminate as much cynicism and negativity from my life as possible.” I did a good job of it for a while, but lately I've fallen back into some old habits, both on Twitter and in my personal life (particularly the latter). I knew from the start I would be prone to falling off the wagon now and then, but I've found that each time I react negatively to something it gets harder and harder to get back on. I take this resolution quite seriously, so it's time to give myself a little kick in the ass with some public accountability.
This post is two things:
My own apology—to myself, to my friends and family, and most of all to my son, who my behavior influences most.
It's also another request for any of you to call me out if you see me behaving against my resolution. I mean it. I once sent Marco Arment a gentle reminder when he was being negative about something, and I hope someone would do the same for me if the roles were reversed.
Half a year left to go for my resolution, and hopefully a lifetime of optimism beyond that. Let's do this.