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Combating Negativity

This blog is unapologetically focused on the future, not the past. It is meant to start a conversation with the community I love that helps each one of us consider the part we play in moving us Forward. It’s up to us, right here, right now, to stop apologizing and complaining and do something different. It is meant to spark constructive conversations that focus on the positive.

“See the positive side, the potential, and make an effort.” ~Dalai Lama

I have liked Facebook pages that send me positive thoughts and ideas daily and share them often. I read books ranging between the scientifically proven benefits of smiling to the complex ways to build a more caring society. I have given pep talks to down-trodden family, friends, and coworkers. Even so, I am not immune to negative thinking and have to shake my head, go for a run and refocus at times. I often wonder why so many people say so many negative things about Jackson. I wonder what motivates the distractors, the naysayers, and the people who poke fun at others or their ideas. I am curious about how to combat negativity.

So, what makes people negative in the first place? I figure it boils down to four basic types of negative people:

  1. I know…You don’t. This person can’t understand another’s perspective, doesn’t have the tools to walk in another’s shoes, and doesn’t want to try.

  2. You should… You’re to blame. This person deflects everything that is wrong onto everyone else and doesn’t see the role that they may be playing in the negativity.

  3. It’s always. … It’s never. This pessimistic person overgeneralizes in order to put people and ideas into compartments.

  4. It’s too dangerous… We tried that before - it didn’t work. This person is afraid to try because there might be a possibility of failure.

Constant exposure to such negativity can make deep inroads into your own bank of positivity, leading you to either become negative, anxious, and distrustful yourself, or to become indifferent, uncaring, or even mean towards the negative person.

So, what can we do to combat negativity? Here are a few tactics, that when practiced regularly, especially by leaders in our community, will help us build a community that embraces our differences, sees the opportunities, and supports one another to take chances.

  • Listen. Start by seeing if under the negativity they have a point, and if they do, acknowledge it. You might be surprised how effective it is to feel like someone listened, finally.

  • Be curious. When you dig deeper, you learned there was more to the story. Just watch out for the hole.

  • Be kind. Resist the urge to judge or assume. You know the saying, “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” It’s true.

  • React with compassion. Not defensiveness or negativity…that basically defeats the whole point. Don’t try to solve or fix them. Just aim to help them now.

  • Be the Change. React with maturity by manifesting the positivity yourself.

  • Be authentic. Especially when someone challenges a decision made, I like saying, “I would rather take a chance and fail than not try at all.” Hopefully we learn, fail fast, and fail forward.

  • Walk away. Sometimes, we all have those kinds of days when we just can’t bring the pieces together to react in any of the ways described above. Sometimes you just need to walk away.

  • Smile. Keep smiling. Repeat.

Ponder this recent Facebook Post:

You have $86,400 in your account and someone stole $10 from you. Would you be upset and throw all the $86,390 away in hope of getting back at the person who took the $10? Or move on and live? Right! Move on and live! See, we have 86,400 seconds in a day, so don’t let someone’s negative 10 seconds ruin the rest of your 86,390.

Please share! If you think this might be a useful message or part of the ongoing efforts to think, talk, and move Forward, please share. #Forward #conversationswithmycommunity #fireupjackson #experiencejxn #jxnyp #jxncf

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