This past week we have been bombarded with negativity. We are consumed with negative campaign ads and claims about the deficiencies of the opposing candidate. Hurricane Sandy reminded us of the power and devastation mother nature is capable of.
While these are two of the most obvious, we’ve also had to deal with traffic, rejection, failed plans, hectic schedules, rocky relationships, low sales, unpaid bills, and the list goes on. Sometimes you have to wonder where the good is. There’s something about Bad vs. Good that you need to know.
Bad is stronger than good. Sorry, but the research shows that bad situations, thoughts, or emotions stay with us longer and affect us more powerfully than good situations, thoughts, or emotions. Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D., suggests that this can be overcome when we experience more good in our lives by a ratio of about 3:1.
Having worked with small business owners for over 30 years, I can tell you that there is no shortage of bad to counteract, however it’s not a question of eliminating bad. Bad helps keep us on course. We just don’t want the bad things in our lives to dictate the course of our existence. Attempting to be positive all the time can also be harmful.
Fredrickson says we should work toward creating a mindset of positivity to get that 3:1 ratio and there are five areas we can focus on:
Be Open – When we are thinking about something bad that has happened or something bad we think is going to happen, we tend to forget about the good that is around us right now.
Be Appreciative – Recognize what’s good in your life. Gratitude is powerful.
Be Curious – Look for the good, ask questions, be open to the not so obvious.
Be Kind – In spite of Hurricane Sandy, acts of kindness are everywhere. Look for it and practice it where you are.
Be Real – Suggests the character strength of honesty and authenticity.
When we create more positive emotions “good things” in our lives, we will very likely experience more awareness and expanded vision – more possibilities.
Fredrickson and other researchers have discovered that increasing the number of good or positive emotions will:
Enhance our creativity
Help us be more resilient
Improve our ability to learn
Help us work more productively toward our goals
As a small business owner, would this be helpful? Think about the last time you were dwelling on something bad, either real or imagined. How was your creativity at that moment? Were you working productively on your goals? Were you thinking about the possibilities that come from being open minded?
“One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, my son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. One is negativity. It’s anger, sadness, stress, contempt, disgust, fear, embarrassment, guilt, shame, and hate. The other is positivity. It’s joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, and above all, love.”
The young boy looked up at his grandfather and asked, “Which one wins?” The old Cherokee replied, “The one you feed.”
We have a choice. Isn’t it worth a try?