World peace advocate and author, Norman Cousins once said, “Nothing clutters the soul more than remorse, resentment, and recrimination. Negative feelings occupy a fearsome amount of space in the mind, block our perceptions, our prospects, our pleasures.” From time to time, we all engage in negative thoughts. However, some people tend to continuously exude toxic energy. They don’t like you, me, their company, job, boss, co-workers, workspace, or themselves. They resist change, new ideas, collaboration and creativity at every turn.
Every negative person has a story, but negativity is self-defeating. It saps energy, focus and motivation; overshadows opportunities; plummets productivity; affects attendance; increases turnover, and most importantly, cripples the human mind, body and spirit.
Because of a psychological phenomenon called negativity bias, our brain is structured with a greater sensitivity to unpleasant news and situations. Therefore, we have a natural tendency to give more weight to negative rather than positive experiences — or to threats instead of opportunities. Consider the following:
- During your annual performance appraisal, you zero in on the one “needs to improve” to the exclusion of the five statements of praise.
- During a business meeting, you present an idea that is challenged by one of your colleagues. Instead of viewing this as an opportunity to outline the positive aspects of your idea and why it will work, you simply shut down and vow, “I’ll never again present another idea!”
- While interviewing a job candidate, you noticed that they struggled with one of the questions. Although the candidate did well in the overall interview, you gave them a negative rating because “There was something about the person that I just didn’t like.”
- You can vividly recall an insult hurled at you 10 years ago, as though it happened only yesterday.
- Upon hearing negative remarks about a friend, rather than defend him or her, you jump into the gossiping session with both feet.
- You must work really hard to ward off anxiety and depression.
There are constructive ways to overcome negativity, so no need to become discouraged when facing a little opposition. To learn more, stay tuned for Part 2…
Until Next Time,