How are you thinking?

January 11th, 2013

by: Kelly Barnes

Quick Task…

1) Grab a pen and paper.

2) Take 2 minutes and write down every word you can think of that describes emotion. Go!

3) Now, divide the list into 3 categories. Positive – Negative – Neutral.

4) How many are in each category?

I am making a prediction that most are negative. Am I right?

Dr. Robert Schrauf, associate professor of applied linguistics at Penn State University, did an interesting study. He took a large group of people from different ages, races, locations and socio-economic backgrounds and had them do the same task you just performed. The study found that half of all the words that people produce from their working vocabulary to express emotion are negative. And 30 percent are positive and 20 percent are neutral.

Over the past decade of working with individuals and teams I have noticed that negativity and skepticism have become habits. We wake up thinking that today is going to be another bad day. “I hate going to this class it is so boring and I never learn anything.” “I don’t know why I am even making this sales call, they are not going to buy.” “My child doesn’t listen to a thing I say, I don’t even know why I try…”

When it comes to people and situations, we always find what we are looking for. Focus on the positive and you will find it.

Andrew Carnegie was once asked by a reporter; “How is it that you have so many successful people working for you?” His response was spectacular… he said; “I develop people like you mine for gold. When you mine for gold you go in expecting to sift through tons of dirt, rocks, trash and debris to find just an ounce of gold. But, you don’t go in looking for dirt and rocks and trash and debris. You look for gold and you don’t stop until you find it.” There is no wonder why he was one of the most successful industrialists of our time. What are you looking for in the people you encounter and the situations you are in?

What we think about comes about. Start looking for the positive things about your job, your co-workers, your marriage, your circumstances… and don’t stop until you find them. You will be amazed at how easy it is to find them and how many there are.

The late Zig Ziglar once said; “Having a positive attitude will not allow you to do everything but it will allow you to do everything better.” Try it, what do you have to lose?




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