Sunday, May 20, 2007

Curious about Negativity: How to Deal with It and Negative People. Using It to Advantage and Changing Focus

Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results.” - Willie Nelson, American musician

That's my gift. I let that negativity roll off me like water off a duck's back. If it's not positive, I didn't hear it. If you can overcome that, fights are easy.” - George Foreman, American athlete

If you are wondering why I chose “Negativity” for this week’s blog, I also needed to think long and hard about it myself. I have always been positive and have always suggested that we avoid hanging around with negative people. BUT what if those people are part of our families? Or are co-workers? What if they are our bosses?

I have also noticed that during teleseminars - and I do attend many - that when the presenter mentions the many advantages of being positive and optimistic, listeners ask how to deal with the negative people in their lives.

Then, one of the subscribers to my e-newsletter suggested that I choose “Negativity” as a theme. You see, she has a boss who is incredibly negative about everything, all of the time. But, she enjoys the rest of her work and doesn’t want to leave. Therefore, rather than advising avoidance, as so many do, I decided to investigate more deeply.

I started with the latest book by one of my favorite motivational gurus, Jack Canfield. In his The Success Principles, he writes about negativity on several different levels. First of all, he does stress the importance of holding positive expectations, so that your brain will take over and help you accomplish them. Just as Willie Nelson stated in the opening quotation!

Canfield includes a whole section on “Feedback.” He discusses the difference between positive and negative feedback. We all like the positive feedback, but not the negative. “However, there is as much useful data in negative feedback as there is in positive feedback. It tells us that we are off course, headed in the wrong direction, doing the wrong thing. That is also valuable information.”

Canfield continues to suggest three ways of responding to negative feedback that don’t work:
  1. Caving in and quitting. Keeps us stuck in the same place.
  2. Getting mad at the source of the feedback. Even if the feedback is useful, this pushes the person and the feedback away.
  3. Ignoring the feedback. We lose out on ways that the feedback could help transform our lives.

And, then there are those who focus their attitudes and thinking on the negatives, rather than the positives. Canfield includes a section where he gives practical ways to learn to look for the positive. “Not only will it help you feel better, but it will also be a critical component of your creating the success you want.”

One of the many outstanding benefits of reading and doing that Canfield’s book outlines with complete clarity, are the practical how to steps to perform for success. I especially enjoyed learning, “how to play the Appreciation Game. Look for things to appreciate in every situation. When you actively seek the positive, you become more appreciative and optimistic, which is a requirement for creating the life of your dreams.”

Now, for a few quotations from the experts:

  • I've always believed that you can think positive just as well as you can think negative.” - James A. Baldwin, American author
  • Quit thinking that you must halt before the barrier of inner negativity. You need not. You can crash through... whatever we see a negative state, that is where we can destroy it.” - Vernon Howard, American author
  • Every positive value has its price in negative terms ... the genius of Einstein leads to Hiroshima.” - Pablo Picasso, Spanish artist
  • I think there's an enormous value to being negative. The world we live in today, negativity is not permitted.” - Godfrey Reggio, American director
  • There have been times when I felt suicidal and I would stop my head from going in that direction of negativity because I thought there'd be something I'd miss that was funny in the future. If there's a chance I'm going to laugh tomorrow then want to live to experience that.” - Dave Navarro, American musician
  • We wear our hearts on our sleeves and if people come at us with negativity, our strength, our armor is that the Sword of Truth.” - Sally Kirkland, American actress
  • There must be a positive and negative in everything in the universe in order to complete a circuit or circle, without which there would be no activity, no motion.” - John McDonald, Canadian leader

And, here are three that I love and the ways I choose to live:

  • The best way of removing negativity is to laugh and be joyous.” - David Icke, English athlete
  • Just can't live that negative way ... make way for the positive day!” - Bob Marley, American musician
  • Delete the negative; accentuate the positive!” - Donna Karan, American designer

Canfield also suggests starting our days by making a list of what we are thankful and grateful for. It does help to solidify a positive and appreciative approach to life. Go to it!

Note: just remember that we can change ourselves and our attitudes, but we can’t change others. However, I feel that if the negative people in our lives see how happy and positive we are, they may try it!