By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to focus more on the positive in negative situations. Reading time: 3:45.
The ANTs are coming! The ANTs are coming! The ANTs are coming!
Beware of the ANTs (Automatically Negative Thoughts) writes Daniel Amen in his book Change your Brain, Change Your Body.
Like ants invading a kitchen, a few ants ain’t bad “but when you have an infestation, it spoils your day.”
No wonder the most effective leaders stomp out the ANTs. After all that magnet of misery –negative thinking – will pull you down. Consider the overwhelming odds:
In Roget’s Thesaurus, twice as many words focus on the negative (2,286) than the positive (1,051).
In Sisson’s Synonyms, there are six times as many words that mean “to Break” as there are “to Build” (186-26); four times as many words that mean “Sad” as there are that mean “Glad” (110-27) and three times as many words that mean “Bad” as there are that mean “Good” (465-150).
In The Ten Commandments “No” or “Not” is mentioned 12 times compared to only two positive commands. And twice as many people will be told about a negative experience as a positive experience, according to government customer service survey.
It’s too easy to complain, to chastise, to put yourself down. It’s too easy to accept the ANTs crawling all over you—the Automatically Negative Thoughts –like Garfield does in the comic strip:
“Do you know where I’m residing? Garfield asks.
“Bored city, that’s where.
But not for long,
with a positive mental attitude, I can whip it.
I think I’ll make a lateral move — to Self Pity.”
Another comic-strip character adds to the Pity Party. Ziggy says: “Every time opportunity knocks, I’m out in the back taking out the garbage.”
Negating the Negativity
Adopting Garfield or Ziggy’s negative attitude –looking more at the doughnut hole than at the doughnut –can even affect life or death.
For example the New England Journal of Medicine reported that less than half would accept a risky treatment for lung cancer if told they would have a 32 percent chance of dying.
Yet, looking at the same doughnut rather than at the doughnut hole, more than twice as many (44-18 per 100) said they would accept the same treatment if told they would have a 68 percent chance of surviving (vs. a 32 percent chance of dying.)
The most effective leaders know that it’s too easy to see ourselves as helpless, hopeless, worthless, loveless, friendless, faceless and even lifeless. It’s too easy to growl, glower and grumble. It’s too easy to destroy what is rather than deploy what could be.
No wonder the most effective leaders embrace the notion that even though scientists can produce absolute zero temperature (-459 degrees) there is no limitation on how hot something can get as long as enough energy is available.
That’s what leaders do. They create the energy for positive outcomes.
And stomp out the ANTs.
Stay away from the negative to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.
SUBSCRIBE: Have a Leadership Mint delivered to your E-mail every business day.
It’s free. Just click the SIGN ME UP box in the upper left column.