This is not just a quirky question. It determines whether people want to work WITH your organisation or just FOR it. There is a big difference. It also draws people to you or makes them run in the opposite direction when they see you coming. No one wants to be around the person who always sees the negative in everything, the person who always focuses on the difficulty in everything, never on the opportunity.
Martin Seligman, the founder of Positive Psychology, called this our “explanatory style”, the way we explain what is happening in our lives. It’s very much about our mindset. Our explanatory style, he says, determines whether we are happy in our lives or depressed, whether we are a pessimist or an optimist. People who have a positive explanatory style can explain even the most devastating experiences in a glass half full way, in a positive explanatory style.
Be a Glass Half Full Person
Develop a Positive Explanatory Style.
Two people look at the glass. Each person explains differently what he/she sees. One says the glass is half empty. The other says the glass is half full. The glass half empty person tends towards always seeing the negative first and focuses on lack and scarcity. The glass half full person always sees the positive first and focuses on abundance. Which one are you?
The glass half empty person attracts negativity and emptiness. The glass half full attracts positivity and fullness. This explains why some people get all the opportunities and other people miss out.
Two Stories of People who have developed a Positive Explanatory Style, are Glass Half Full People.
Story Number 1. Two sales executives from rival US shoe companies were sent to Africa to explore the business opportunities for their respective companies. One came back with a negative report: “There are no opportunities here for our business because no one wears shoes here.” The other came back with a positive report and said: “There are enormous opportunities for our business here because no one wears shoes here.”
Two people looking at the same situation and coming up with different conclusions and all because of their explanatory style.
Story Number 2. I met a 34 year old young man with terminal cancer. He had 2 and 4 year old boys. In the course of him telling me about the cancer and his treatment. I made the comment that he must feel immense sadness that he won’t see his boys grow up. “Maree”, he said, “I don’t even let myself think about that. Every morning I get up and thank God I have another day to love and enjoy them.”
My Motivational Challenge for This Week.
Observe yourself and how you explain what is happening in your life. When you find yourself in glass half empty mode or using a negative explanatory style, STOP. FOCUS and TURN YOUR THINKING AROUND. At the end of each day take time to reflect on how you went. Watch what happens when you do that consistently over a period of time.