negative tendencies

August 24, 2009 ·

people who know me would probably characterize me as negative. i'm not a doomsayer or a causeless malcontent, just very pragmatic. i like to see it as being more of a realist. this comes across as not being a terribly positive person. but it's for good reason.

yes, of course, the positives needs to be applauded and given some attention. it's great to be validated and feel good about things. but everyone wants to hear the good and cower from the bad. focusing on just the positives leads to complacency.

i tend to not dwell on the positives much. i give the goods their due, but no more and often less. i typically charge my positivity with how to make the good better, which comes across as negative. why? it's pretty simple. i'm never completely satisfied.

the main premise behind this mentality is this: glorifying the good, especially at the expense of underscoring the not so good, is a recipe for stagnation. can you improve on the good? yes, you always can. but that incremental growth will not bring about the same level of step change as if you improve on a negative.

how better to illustrate than with a graph:

if you look at 4 areas of any project or subordinate, there will be strengths and weaknesses. there's not much more to be gained from making B better, but there is in bringing up A or D. is there work to be done on B - yes. we should never stop challenging assumptions of success but we can't be so focused on this, it's covered pretty good.

the point in writing this is not to just let you in on an aspect of my personality i up and decided to share. it's because this is a kernel in my operating system that i think has value. i'm not telling you to go around being mr. or mrs. negative and crap on everything. rather, see to it that we're not just patting ourselves on the back with our blinders on.

it's paying mind to what really needs to be minded and a want to not just coast on the good, but do better by reversing the bad. unfortunately, that doesn't always make you the most popular or the most positive person on the team.




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