Podcast 304 | Toxic Positivity

Pierre Van ZylMinimalism, Podcast

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By Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus ·

In this episode of The Minimalists Podcast, Joshua and Ryan talk about the folly of the self-help industry’s focus on exhausting positivity—on trying to convince us that we can out-eat, out-learn, and out-perform our humanness—with author, podcaster, and professor Kate Bowler, and they answer the following questions:

  • What is the “gospel of hustle”?
  • What are the signs that positivity has become toxic for us as individuals, and what are the signs that our well-intentioned positive vibes are becoming toxic to others?
  • Where did the ‘good vibes only’ orthodoxy originate?
  • Why does complaining seem to encourage camaraderie?
  • What is the problem with the language of positivity?
  • What is “horizon work”?
  • What is “choice poor”?
  • How do we address those that weaponize perspectives, such as toxic positivity, to bully us into accepting and adopting their way of thinking as our own; for example, when people that disapprove of minimalism call minimalists “privileged”?
  • How do you define “elitism”?
  • What is “prudential wisdom”?
  • Where did the notion come from that being positive is the cure for everything, the path for everyone, the solution to whatever life throws at you—what is wrong with embracing sadness, contemplation, grief, anxiety?
  • What is “limited agency”?

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Minimal Maxims

Joshua & Ryan’s pithy, shareable, less-than-140-character responses. Find more quotes from The Minimalists at MinimalMaxims.com.

  • “Self-pity is the bedrock of toxic certainty.” —Joshua Fields Millburn
  • “Our emotions are mountains: the peaks create the valleys.” —Ryan Nicodemus

Mentioned in This Episode

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