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In this alternative approach keynote, journalist and author Oliver Burkeman provides a radical stance by providing the negative path to positivity. Burkeman finds strong psychological evidence that in the present day cult of optimism, people are allergic to negative experience and focusing on positivity. However, Burkeman believes by focusing on eliminating negativity and uncertainty, it can bring about the result that people did not want to occur.
He argues that instead of focusing on the best that could happen, one should focus on the worst. Because the worst thing about any future happening is our exaggerated belief in its horror; and through this practice of seeing the negatives, it is given some limits.
Surprisingly, Burkeman points out how building in constant reminders of death, whether subliminal or not, people are more willing to help others. These practical skills are key to having success in decision making. Because as Burkeman points out by mapping out the worst outcome and believing these results are tolerable enough the choice is clear.