My wife and I were having a deep conversation about life, the future, and people we have known over nearly 30 years together. She stated a strong compliment about two couples we know. She said, “they are all positive about in how they talk of others. And they are not cutesy / gooey in their relationships, but it is nice how they positively treat their spouses”. My wife proclaimed “I like positivity”. It made me start a list of who were the most positive people I know. Fortunately the list is long (and growing).
I find that spending time with a positive person reduces stress, while negative (or sometimes even nasty) people tend to leave me feeling empty inside. How often do you spend time with someone who is lives for the gossip and undermining the reputations of others? With so much negative news coming at us via the media, do we really want negativity flooding into over drinks with friends? We need to be around people who lift us up. Plus, I learned the hard way that the ones who bad-mouth someone to me over drinks later say nasty thing about me to someone else.
I used to listen to a podcast where the host was always critical about the “types” of people he did not like. He would justify his way of doing life and business as superior, and had a long list the kinds of people he did not admire. His mantra was that he was a positive guy, while in every episode he had examples of people he hated. I realized it was his own style of proving his superiority to himself. His podcast was his therapy. Ick. I deleted the show from my Apple Podcast list as the off handed way he degraded others did not leave me feeling happy. This taught me on my own podcast to just highlight the best parts when possible.
Now, I wish I could tell you I have always been a glass is half-full positive kinda guy. In my heart I am a positive person, but over the past 15 years I have allowed the pressures of life to undermine my optimism and I got caught up in a ton of finger pointing and the blame game. My self esteem had taken some hard knocks and critical sadness crept into my front seat. Negative thoughts got hold of my soul sometimes. Positivity was not my lead. Yet I am working on changing that as I go forward. Personal growth is real and my tolerance for difficult people and negative talk is waning. I want to lead by example.
Over the past three months my regular self assessments on a positive attitude are a daily routine. I try to catch myself if I slip. I am working on incorporating the habits of a positive person into everything I do in my work and personal life. But more importantly, I am looking at who I spend my time with in work and play. I put a sign on my wall in my office that reads “Only Positive People Welcome In My Life”. This doesn’t mean there wont be negative Nellies – but I do not have to make them a permanent fixture in my close circle of friends. I am seeking to learn and grow. I cannot do this without positive people around me to show me the way.
In my keynote speeches and workshops I am adding in some research on positive people vs negative people. There is a direct connection to attitude in the workplace and how the people on your team impact everyone else they work with daily. My own experience working inside has shown how the negativity is a disease that undermines the whole company. Positive people have a way of getting others to do more, but they are often drowned out in a sea of BS.
Who is with me? Are you positive? Do you want to be positive? Send me an email and let’s compare stories on the positivity journey.
Thom Singer is a keynote speaker and corporate master of ceremonies / EmCee. He is the author of 12 books and the host of two podcasts.