It's All About PerceptionMy daughter has been swimming for a couple of years now, and occasionally I hear the words "I can't" come out of her little 5 year old mouth. "I can't" tolerate the words "I can't," really I cringe when I hear them. My response to her is, "the only person saying I can't is you." As a culture I feel as though we have adopted such a negative and pessimistic attitude. I find that many people who have adopted such attitudes have done so simply because it seems to be an easier way to live. I do not want her to adopt a negative attitude early in life where she believes she "can't." She can with the right focus AND effort that the situation/opportunity requires.
Leading now to my own "grown up life", recently I have found myself in situations dealing with some negativity. I have pondered this idea and notion for about 2 months now (I actually wrote this post in early May), and I am here to tell you two things you may already know, negativity is: Contagious and Toxic. It is in no way an easier style of life.
- Contagious: I have found that I tend to behave like the 3-5 people whom with I spend the majority of my time. Therefore, if I surround myself with negativity I too will start to lose focus and become more negative. Those people who view the world as glass half empty will, more likely than not, always view the world as glass half empty (See my review of Who Moved My Cheese). And as the saying goes, misery LOVES company-their subconscious goal is for you as an individual to validate their worldly beliefs and opinions. Eventually leading to the adoption those views and beliefs, and taking on their negative and counter productive mind set.
- Toxic: We all know a negative Nancy. The person who no matter what happens in life, cannot seem to achieve happiness, health, and joy. This person is always searching for the next best thing, when life does not work in their 100% favor. The lack of ability to adopt change and move forward, through their own choosing. These feelings of negativity will eat a person to their very core. This is why such a mind set is mentally, emotionally and physically painful.
This mindset is very much like a disease, have you ever had to work with a negative teammate or manager? Can you remember what the team was like, does the team not begin to take on the life of the negative "leader." Then soon coming to work becomes increasingly difficult and you too begin to start making negative remarks. Do the negative deals not begin to wear on you as a person? Do you find yourself sleeping less, being more irritable, easily angered or highly stressed and do not know why? Do you find yourself not motivated to give the discretionary effort you once did prior to your interactions with this teammate or manager?
A negative person has already made up their mind and is driven by a self fulfilling prophecy. Subconsciously changing their behavior to reflect their negative attitude. In both my personal and professional life, I tend to take on the ideals of the realist and the jovial person (life is so much easier this way!). I have witnessed the devastating impact on the professions and personal lives of many people that adopt or possess the view of negativity. We as progressive thinking people have to be consciously aware of our own actions (the only actions/behavior we can control), we cannot allow ourselves to be manipulated into behaving differently because of another persons negativity.
Therefore, be vigilant to know, see and understand when someone around us is being negative (click here for a book on in-site for change management). This is highly important in the creation of teams, formation of leaders, the foundation of marriage, the personal success as a parent, and the longevity of friendships; in every aspect of life.