“We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize.”—Thich Nhat Hanh
“I’m so stressed, I will never get it all done.” “We are never going to make our numbers.” “We have not gotten enough support.” “Why is the plane delayed again?” “You let me down.”
It is our nature to complain and see what is missing. We have a negativity bias where we tend to see what is not working. This served humans during the cave days when a more optimistic view could result in being eaten. Most of us are not in such danger these days. However, Rick Hansen says that negativity is like Velcro, while positivity is like Teflon and easily slips away.
We know that our mindset influences how we perceive the world and that influences our behavior which impacts others. We can each take responsibility to positively influence our workplaces, families and communities by our open mindset. We can be negative and create a draining environment or we can lead others to see what is possible by our example.
New research in the fields of positive psychology and neuroscience, cited by Michelle Gielan in her book Broadcasting Happiness, shows that shifts in how we reflect and communicate with others can have significant effects on business outcomes. For example, studies show that positivity and optimism have resulted in “31 percent higher productivity, 25 percent greater performance ratings, 37 percent higher sales and 23 percent lower levels of stress.”
It takes effort to build the habit of appreciating what is working and seeing possibilities. On a recent family trip it was easy to hear complaints about being tired, the disruptive weather, late planes and the packed schedule. Yet, when I could notice my own tendency toward negativity and shift to the positive—being grateful we were together and appreciating the opportunity we had to fly and that we could be flexible—this small shift made the trip more positive for me and thus for my family.
I am not saying it is easy to make these shifts and like any habit, it takes practice to build the muscle of noticing our instinct and shifting to our desired behavior. Yet, the second-hand effect of being positive and seeing possibilities makes the effort worthwhile.
Work to notice negativity in yourself and others and develop the habit of noticing and radiating possibilities.
Contact us at any time at Potentials.com.