The Culture of Negativity

DG-practice-gratitude_pt3We humans have a strong survival instinct that draws on our ability to spot threats. We react quickly and intensely to warning signs. Negative headlines sell more newspapers, and people gravitate to TV shows that highlight negative behaviors.

We can pay more attention to criticisms than compliments. Negative events have a greater effect
on our mood and behaviors than do positive events.
A healthy dose of negativity allows us to spot and avoid problems.

But too much focus on negativity saps our energy and compromises our ability to find necessary solutions.

Managers and leaders must therefore counteract the pull of negativity and the tendency to fixate on bad news. This means that as a leader, team member or friend, we need to seize opportunities to influence outcomes by emphasizing positivity and gratitude over negative possibilities.

Ask yourself this important question: How can I help others (and myself) overcome negativity  and create a culture of positivity?

How to Create a Positive Culture! 

Be willing to invest five minutes a day in making a gratitude list. It’s quick, unbelievably easy and provides immediate benefits.

Each day of the week, write down three things for which you’re grateful. Commit to this daily habit or practice.  Find a special notebook or place to write what you are grateful for.

Day 1: I am grateful for………….

1.  __________________________________________________________________

2.  __________________________________________________________________

3.  __________________________________________________________________

Day 2: I am grateful for………….(etc.)

Day 3: I am grateful for………….(etc.)

You’ll need to sustain this practice to reap ongoing benefits. Like any habit, keeping a gratitude journal takes some discipline at first. An ongoing commitment will allow it to become a natural, established practice or habit in your life.

A word of caution: You may feel gratitude just by thinking about it, but it won’t last. Thinking isn’t doing. The daily practice of actually writing down three things for which you are grateful for — will deliver lasting results.

In closing, I’ve included a list of three books referred to in this post and the previous post. However, there are now a multitude of books published just in the last decade about gratitude and happiness which merit reading.

I encourage you, as I do my coaching clients, to read any of these inspirational books. You’ll be glad you did.

Gratitude Book Resources

Tal Ben-Shahar, Even Happier: a Gratitude Journal for Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment, McGraw-Hill, 2009.

Kim Cameron, Practicing Positive Leadership: Tools and Techniques That Create Extraordinary Results, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2013.

Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton, How Full Is Your Bucket? Gallup Press, 2004.


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