As a teenager in Ghana, George Mwinnyaa fell seriously ill. After sacrificing three chickens to the gods, he miraculously healed. Now a student of public health at Johns Hopkins University, he doesn’t think it was the sacrifice itself that saved him. He thinks it was the act of giving thanks.
Lawrence Ripple entered the bank and gave the teller a note that said, “I have a gun, give me money.” Ripple didn’t have a gun, and strangely, he didn’t actually want the money. After the teller handed over $3,000 in cash, Ripple sat down in the lobby and waited for the cops to come. This didn’t take long since Ripple chose a bank with a police station on the same block.
Natalie Price was in dire straits. She was in the middle of a divorce and was struggling to put a roof over her children’s heads. After losing her job, she was at her wit’s end. With no other options, she moved in with her parents. At 2 AM, she woke up in pain. She was having a heart attack.
Author AJ Jacobs jokes that his specialty is being able to focus on the negative. He says he’s not alone in having a glass-half-empty personality. He says that humans are wired this way. It may have been useful to keep our eyes on dangerous predators in prehistoric times, but for modern humans, focusing on the negative leads to anxiety and depression.