The short answer is “No!” I was at dinner at a friend’s home last week and she told me that after reading my Blog she had to wonder if I was faking my enthusiasm or positive outlook. And, again, that’s a firm NO!
It’s my belief that most human beings (without medication) are hard wired to be negative. “Psychology has identified this pull towards the dark side as a “negativity bias.” From an evolutionary perspective, human beings have learned that paying attention to the negative is more important than dwelling on the positive. Those whose gene pools encouraged them to ignore predators in favor of stopping to smell the roses have been killed off in favor of a more pragmatic genetic profile”
You have tens of thousands of thoughts that run through your mind each day. And when you’re going through a job loss, a divorce or break up, moving or some other stressful event the only way to cope seems to be to figure out everything that can go wrong and prepare yourself for the worst! Our ancestors must have benefited from a negative outlook when “Outlast, Outlplay, Outwit” truly had meaning.
Certainly I’ve had my bad days. I’ve had sleepless nights in the last three months since I lost my job and days where things felt all but hopeless and I was ready to be sucked into the abyss with the rests of the jobless, underwater homeowners. But this Blog does not mean to say that you should dwell on the negative. I had a boyfriend once who made this an art form – sitting in his room for hours, listening to music and “thinking” about his problems rather than talking to someone and creating a plan to deal with them. It eventually broke apart our relationship because there was nothing productive about it. If you can identify the problem it’s time to do something about it!
So once a week I make sure to give myself this pep talk in the form of a Blog and put away the anxiety for the day to focus on what I know is true: I love what I do, I’m pretty good at it (otherwise I wouldn’t have lasted nearly 2 decades in this business), and there are companies out there that put a premium on hiring talent vs. someone who will do the job cheaply. And all of my hard work seems to be paying off: I’ve been pretty busy with interviews for great jobs in the last few weeks!
Negativity serves a purpose but it can be demoralizing. Being optimistic can be a rush while it lowers stress and anxiety. But you need both the positive and the negative. “In her recent book, The Optimism Bias, neuroscientist Tali Sharot of the Welcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, notes that optimists tend to earn more and live longer, among other benefits. ‘Believing that a goal is attainable motivates us to execute actions that will help us get closer to our dreams,’ she says. ‘This is why optimists are more likely to succeed in academics, sports, and politics.’
I had a two-hour, second interview to start the week and it went really well. I have another second interview tomorrow. And I’m waiting to hear back from a Major Market on the West Coast about a Morning Drive job there. Negativity can be a motivator. So while my chips may be down there’s no where to go but up….so that’s where I’m going. Anybody with me?
Keep the Faith,
Some other interesting reads:
“How to Reduce Negativity”
“Are Optimists Dumber?”