One of our most popular blog posts of all time, we’ve brought this one back for a much-deserved republication. Enjoy!
The amount of negativity all around us is no longer empowering us as a society, but instead, it is slowly crippling us in a time where we need to find and acknowledge the progress, gratitude and appreciation for life to set the example for the next generation.
Too many words, not enough action.
Too many problems, a lack of solutions.
Too much blame, a disregard for accountability.
Too much assumption, a loss of fact.
Let me emphasize, this is not a political post. Nor do I want it to be misinterpreted as one. This is about self-awareness: an introspection of our own character and how we rationalize both our internal and external awareness in the environment we are in.
Simply put, it is about our decisions.
“Remember, a negative multiplied by a negative is only positive in math — not the real world.
– Eric Thomas, Motivational Coach
All of us need to take the time to reevaluate our priorities, values and purpose, to ask yourself, “Am I living up to my own standards each and every day?”. As adults, each of us — regardless of race, creed, socio-economic stature, education or persuasion — are providing the ground work for a new generation of young adults who will play a critical role in our future development in society.
Do you sincerely believe that our focus is on providing a balance of both positive and negative to teach our children that there is good and bad in the world, but to also elicit the actions of problem solving and healthy, productive discussions to find unity and make an impact on the world?
Our brain is bombarded with negative influences everywhere, especially from the highest influencer, visual data. It is now estimated that upward of 90% of the news, both newspaper and television, is negative content. A 2016 review of all social media channels discovered that on average, 62% of posts and/or comments are negative-biased (statista.com).
We have developed a negativity bias in our cognitive system over time that creates “mental shortcuts” that push us toward the negative in a situation rather than actually processing it, thinking about it, using critical thought and providing an honest opinion. What influences us the most to make these shortcuts? Other people’s opinions.
It doesn’t take science to prove that we tend to lean toward the side of popular opinion as opposed to sticking with our independent belief because we fear being the outcast, or not part of the majority. Over time, we have lost our ability to generate free and independent thought because what was once a simple discussion with others can immediately lead to a heated, emotional debate regardless of topic. Why are we so quick to attack? When did we lose the ability to listen and discover through others’ knowledge? The fireside chat has turned into protests, violence, extreme threats on social media and a focus by news outlets to intensify the situation by making light of it at every chance they get.
But if you want science to back up my position . . .
According to Dr. Daniel Kahneman, 2002 Nobel Laureate and best-selling author of “Thinking, Fast and Slow”, people tend to take a benchmark and react to it. It actually takes effort to make an individual act and think rationally to find the support for independent thought processes. His empirical findings challenge the assumption of human rationality prevailing in modern economic theory; however, his research, results and principles are largely used by behavioral psychologists today.
“Life is a reflection of what you think. If your thoughts are negative, the world you see will be the same.”
– Leon Brown, MLB player
Time for me to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Here are five ways to make positive changes in your life today that will leave a lasting impression on others, as well as make you a happier person.
- POSITIVE MINDSET
Surround yourself with positive people. Make sure those in your life are positive, supportive people you can depend on to give helpful advice and feedback. Negative people may increase your stress level and make you doubt your ability to manage stress in healthy ways. Practice positive self-talk. All of these things will contribute to you having a positive and productive mindset.
- DON’T DO IT
You know what I mean — you just need to think about it! Don’t post on social media when you’re angry, don’t respond unless you grandmother would approve of every word you use, don’t have an opinion unless you have the knowledge and facts to back it up. Show respect and avoid the fight. Only participate if you can clearly see the intent and purpose is for a positive change. It’s one thing to post a sarcastic retort on something you disagree with; it’s another thing to have an intelligent debate while disagreeing.
Think of it like this, “Pay it Forward” and focus on what YOU can do to make a difference. Once you get the motivation to do it, you will see the immediate benefits, and a true leader will find the purpose in getting more invested in the mission. One person can make an incredible difference. Giving and gratitude go hand in hand. The more you practice it, the better you will get at it. I challenge you to take the first step, then pass it on and grow the efforts.
When I say be a mentor, I mean take an active role in discovering what you are passionate about and go inspire others. You can find these opportunities all around you, through schools, community-based mentor programs, your church, YMCA, etc. Regardless of where you choose, mentor a young person who needs direction in their life. Teach them about life, integrity, leadership and the character and skills necessary to succeed. For some of these kids, you may be the only positive figure in their life. You can make a difference.
- GRATITUDE JOURNAL
For some, this may seem uncomfortable, but it is no different than journaling. I am a huge proponent of journaling; it allows me to put my thoughts, ideas, concerns, frustrations and questions on paper. And when I write things down, I am more likely to act upon them. A component of my journaling that I learned from my father was to remember what you grateful for each day. For years, I have made it a habit to write five things down each day that I am grateful for. We all have general ones such as health, family and friends, but look deeper and put thought into it. If I can recognize the things I am grateful for before I go to bed, the odds of me waking up with the right attitude increase.
Don’t talk. Act.
Don’t say. Show.
Don’t promise. Prove.
Make a difference today.
VENTURE + LEAD + PROSPER
Humbled to lead,
#chargeup #lessonsinleadership #leadership #lead #process #patience #change #venture #lead #prosper #reflect #inspire #empower #motivate #beyou #gratitude #integrity #starttoday #humilty
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