Our brains have a built-in negativity bias. In other words, they are actually wired to look for what’s wrong with a situation. We were prewired with this trait — for when man lived in an uncivilized world he could constantly be on the lookout for threats. Looking for what’s wrong is our built-in survival tool.
When we take our negativity bias and smother it with today’s modern news and media (most of which is negative) we can end up getting addicted to the bad news.
It’s important to make a conscious effort to learn how to look for the positives. Learning to look for “what’s right about the situation” is a learned skill. Like any other skill it takes practice to get good at it and have it become a part of our daily routine.
In business, as leaders we are trained and paid to solve problems. Most managers and leaders spend the majority of their energy identifying, discussing and dissecting issues. Leaders need to be good at solving problems but they also need to get good at identifying success.
When we practice seeing what’s good about a situation, it creates hope, optimism and confidence about creating more success. Fear shuts down creativity; confidence and hope help ignite the creative regions of our brain.
Getting to work with both public and family owned businesses has given me the chance to see cultures of both negativity and fear and positivity and hope. I’ve seen and FELT what both feel like. The cultures of positivity have people who are enthusiastic and ready to solve problems. Negativity breeds anger and focus on blame.
Like everything else it starts with you. You need to get better at seeing what’s right about your situation. Take a few minutes each day at the beginning and end of your day and train yourself to see what’s right. Building the positivity muscle will give you more capacity to solve the problems you face every day.
Take a break from the media. Be a leader. Model the behavior for others. Positivity is contagious!
Learning to practice is a key element of the 20 exercises that are in my Family Business Success System.