Negativity Plus!

Do you feel droopy? Does the nightly news or the morning papers depress you? Do you work with people who continue to grumble about everyone and anything? Is anyone in your family always looking at the glass being half-empty? Do you know people who just don’t like what they do or are? Are you one of them?

If your response was yes to any of the above, you are not alone. Negative news, work, the stock market is down…again, people, and yes, even the family are everywhere. I bet that sometimes you feel that it’s hopeless–you can’t do any thing about a situation, people, even yourself, so why worry? Guess again. You can.

A key factor to survival in the workplace is to keep a positive attitude. Now, don’t stop here thinking this is so trite. Oh, I know that there is a zillion books out there on positive attitudes. I even wrote one of them–The Confidence Factor and I’m working on a new one-Creating Confidence Out of Chaos. My research has shown that working in a negative environment, surrounding yourself by negative people–including those you work with, play with and live with–can make you sick. Even deathly ill. This includes you, if you are the negative force.

Why Negativity is Embraced

Why does anyone continue to work, pal around with and live with the energy suckers of live–those negative parasites that pop up? There are two answers: laziness and fear. Lazy in that too many would rather burn at the stake then stick their necks out and try something new.

It takes work, sometimes-hard work, to change a situation or attitude. Who said life was easy? It’s not. In fact, it is quite complicated and rather painful at times. Too many CHOOSE to be apathetic and complacent. Those who are apathetic fit the lazy category to a tee. Those who are complacent live in la-la land, thinking that nothing will ever happen to jeopardize their position at work or in their relationships.

Today’s population is littered with folks that would rather stay glued to a muddy floor then try to turn the mud into bricks and rebuild a house-be it brick and mortar or electronic. Apathy and complacency are their guides. They’re easy companions to nay-saying new ideas.

And then there is fear. Every man, woman and child encounters fear. Sometimes its so overwhelming that paralysis can set it. At other times, it’s a few seconds and you move on. When fear is in motion, it’s common to put something down-the unknown is out there. Too many negate a positive possibility by turning their back on it. It’s easier to chip away and discount it. It won’t work, it’s no good, and I don’t want to try. . .

Turning Negativity Around

My best method is dealing with fear is simply to ask this question: what ever the “fear vehicle” is, will it kill me or cause real harm? I’m talking about destroying a career, a relationship, or myself physically. If it won’t, then I proceed. Granted, caution should be exercised as I move along whatever the process is, but I move along.

Turn off the nightly news at the end of the day. And it is–when was the last time you viewed the tube and the lead news item wasn’t about a bombing, a murder or some other disaster? Or, at least, don’t start or end your day with it. The last thing you need to do as you wind down from the day’s activities is to be assaulted by the current mess of the day/week/month. You may be tired, but wouldn’t it be a heck of a lot better to hear something that cheers you up, makes you laugh or feel appreciated? The nightly news is not designed to fill that bill. Break the habit you’ve fallen into by not turning on the TV. You don’t need the news at this time, Jay Leno would be a better late evening electronic companion than the men and women of the nightly news.

Tell people who are energy suckers that you have limited time (if any) for them. Set your terms on when you interact. Granted, you may need to look for another job or even new friends. One executive interviewed for Creating Confidence Out of Chaos said that each year she reviews whom she spends time with-both at work and play. She then rates them-are they positive or negative?

If someone gets too many marks on the negative side, she calls them up and says something like this, “Bertha (or Bert), I’ve thought about the times we’ve chatted over the past year and have come to a conclusion. Just about every time I’ve gotten together with you, all I’ve heard about is how much you dislike your job, how horrible your personal life is and what a mess your kids are. Frankly, I’m sick of hearing about it-there are times I want to throw up after I’ve had coffee with you. Here’s my bottom line. I’m giving you the name and phone number of a therapist who I’ve worked with in the past. Until you willing to work on yourself, I’m no longer willing to be drained by you.”

Eleanor Roosevelt said it best, “No one can make you feel inferior unless you give them permission.” Who will you enable or allow to influence you? Who will you encourage to be in your circle of friends? What activities will you undertake that give you positive support and feedback versus negative? You have to set limits. If you don’t and your co-workers or management or friends are the pits, you will get dragged down with them. You will begin to mimic their attitude and behavior.

In other words, get off your butt. Delete the negative forces in your life. Take responsibility for where you are and what your attitude is. The world can still be your oyster.

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