Negativity Sticks

Is it true that we have a predilection for the negative?  Are we more drawn to the negative than the positive?  Are we drawn to the negative about our students, colleagues, parents, friends & family, and even ourselves?  Do we have a problem seeking mindset that seeks to find out what is broken and fix it.

NY Times bestselling authors Chip Heath (Stanford) and Dan Heath (Duke) believe that we are wired to focus on the negative.  They sight an unusually long, thorough and depressing review of over 200 articles by a group of psychologists that concluded as much.  Yes!  The research supports this view and the evidence indicates that, “When people learn bad stuff about someone else it’s stickier than good stuff.  People pay closer attention to the bad stuff, reflect on it more, remember it longer and weight it more heavily in assessing the person overall. (Switch by Chip and Dan Heath).  Think of the implications for schools – for families – for all relationships!

So lets give the negativity a rest.  But that’s not enough.  We need to replace it with the positive.  Let’s intentionally find the good and call it forth from our students and colleagues.  Let’s analyze successes instead of failures.

Our negative words, thoughts and actions can do damage to ourselves (we can be so hard on ourselves) and others.  Our positive approach can change the lives of those around us.  They are probably looking for it.

Be determined to live this way. Fight that negativity, remembering that it is strong and pervasive.  The stakes are high.  Change your wiring.  Focus on the bright spots.  See the difference it makes.

Fran McGreevy

Root-Ed – Leadership & Learning

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