Saturday, March 30, 2013

Do Negative People Really Suck?

My strong personal belief is that the universe gives us what we need, when we need it. The universe also knows we are not very good listeners.  So, sometimes we get the same message over and over again until we actually hear it.

When we are ready, we get it.  That’s the “Ah-Ha!” moment; the “overnight success” of great awareness. 

If you’re interested in how the brain works, why we get ideas when we do, how to maximize your own “smartness” etc, you really need to get David Rock’s book, Your Brain at Work   I think it’s because David knows how the brain works that he can explain it in a way that is uber-relatable and easy to take in.  Ah. Maze. Ing.

I especially love how David uses a central visual of a play with a stage, actors, and an audience.  As I borrow and extrapolate, I picture our “ah ha” moments starting somewhere in the cheap seats.  Maybe it’s a group of like concepts that just couldn’t get tickets all together for some reason.   

Even though critical thoughts are sitting there all along, we don’t fully notice them until they jump onto the stage and start singing show tunes -- or play a Fender Stratocaster depending on what you are into.

Usually my brain’s best performances happen in the wee hours of the morn.  (David also explains the reason for this in his book.)  

Today for example, I had an ensemble performance by all the moments when I’ve heard something along the lines of "great people focus on solutions, not problems”:   
* A friend who posted something about it online yesterday.  

* A discussion with my CFO at a conference last week.  

* Something I read in a Forbes article before I went to bed. 
Ironically, it was thinking about David Rock’s book that collected and pushed those thoughts onto the stage in the forefront of my mind.  At 4:00am.  Thanks an effing lot, David.

It suddenly occurred to me how judgmental we are when it comes to “positive people” vs. “negative people.”   I have been too.  Yikes.  People who focus on problems are bad.  People who find solutions are good. 

Yet, here is the Rock-inspired “Ah ha!” (or “Tah dah!”) moment:  Problems are known.  Solutions are unknown. 

It takes a LOT of energy and effort at the cellular level, to picture something you have never seen before (Rock, p. 13).   It's hard for many people to see the unknown clearly enough to change their reality or even perception of reality.   It isn’t as simple as flipping a switch from negative to positive, or problem to solution. 
It takes work.
What this epiphany gives me is a shift away from thinking, “I only want positive people in my life” or “I only want employees who find solutions, rather than focusing on problems.” 

Instead, what I want to attract into my personal and professional sphere are individuals that are willing to do the work.  People who, even if they need some help, would be open enough to roll up their sleeves and try.

As a specific personal example, I have some really negative Facebook friends.  You should see the sh*t they post, much of which I try to imagine is not directly aimed at me and my pet unicorn.  I'll admit that I sometimes wonder why I stay in touch with these people.
Today I will find myself looking through a different lens.   Do they want to see the world differently, even if they don’t know how to today?  Would they be willing to do the work to find solutions if someone gave them a little spark? 

It’s not about looking for “positive” or “negative.”  It’s about the energy.
Let's look for that energy and even better, inspire it.   

And.... scene.

PS: As a reminder, I don’t promote any person or product for compensation.  I’m just a geeked-out fan.

Book credit: Rock, David. Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long. New York: HarperCollins, 2009.

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Tammy said...

I tend to border on annoying to some people with my "little miss sunshine" attitude. It used to bother me much more than it does these days. I LOVE happy people, so I don't get it when it bothers others. I have my moments. Believe me. But Seeing the humor in life and staying on the bright side of things LITERALLY makes my life easier. I've seen the proof, so I'd be nuts to do it any differently. Plus laughing your way through life is so much more fun than complaining will ever be. I have heard of this book. I will check it out. I love your Blog!!

Charlene said...

Thanks Tammy! I absolutely agree that it can be almost addictive once you start to attract goodness into your life. I think it's just harder for some to turn that corner for some reason. Maybe our pet unicorns can get together sometime! LOL! ;-)

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