I’ve often coached leaders on how to ensure their success and sanity as they create high-performing teams. How ironic that with COVID-19, some bits of advice have turned right on their heads…
2019: Surround yourself with positive people and stay away from the negative ones.
2020: Surround yourself with negative people and stay away from the positive.
Kidding aside, for the most part, it’s important to keep positivity and happiness on your side. I’ve seen people sink into depression during this time — a desperate, debilitating condition that spirals endlessly into hopelessness. Excessive worrying, analyzing, anticipating the worst, leads to an anxiety that can be all-consuming. Many folks who are house-bound and not able to socialize physically find themselves in a sort of prison, with no way out.
When I was 12, I witnessed a particularly negative person make their life deteriorate by their “glass half empty” attitude — constantly complaining about everything. Most were things they could probably change if they put their mind to it. Instead, they blamed this, that and the other person or circumstance. This had a profound impact on me. Right then, I made a lifelong vow to never complain, look back or second-guess decisions once made. That meant the words “regret”, “should have” and “would have” were erased from my vocabulary. To this day I am committed to this vow, and it has helped me face with practicality the hundreds of big and small challenges I have experienced in my lifetime, especially when it was easy to fall prey to negative thoughts — sad things, disappointing things, annoying things.
Life is really what you make it. If life gives you an obstacle, then confront it with pragmatism and turn it into something constructive or manageable. We should not stew over what we cannot control. Instead, we can control what we stew over. But first we must choose to do so. One way is to approach a challenge with a “glass half-full” attitude rather than being defeatist. Thinking about the situation and asking, “What is good about this?”, might help. Often, negativity leads to anxiety and sometimes, inaction, which isn’t particularly helpful.
Here though, is an interesting observation: Research shows that not everyone is driven by thinking positively. Some people feel motivated when they think negatively. Somehow the pessimism drives them to action. Anxiety causes them to turn it into solutioning because they don’t want to fail. This may trigger them to work harder, although it may take longer to arrive at solutions as they imagine multiple negative scenarios. In a way, a glass half-empty situation can result in a glass half-full position. Posi-nega-tivity?
To each their own! Everyone has a way of dealing with challenges. Whether the attitude is positive or negative, the best approach is to be true to who you are, find your own way to resolve the situation and achieve success.
Are you glass half empty or full? What’s right for you regarding positive and negative thinking? Let’s explore! Reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org .