Louise Hay and Abraham Hicks have it almost right. Both advocate focusing on three good things that happen each day – Louise at night, Abraham in the morning – and that’s a great habit to get into.
But they don’t go quite far enough. If you want to be the best manager, co-worker or partner you can be, you need to practice the three good things habit every time something upsets you.
No matter what happens, there are always three good things you can find in the midst of the negativity. For example –
Let’s pretend I was at a dog show and my beloved dog got loose and was running around, headed for the highway, and no one could catch her.
Now that’s a bad event! How could there be three good things in something like that? Watch…
- She’s loose, but she’s surrounded by people with good dog-sense who will help lure her back instead of chasing her.
- It’s the weekend, and I don’t have anywhere else to go or anything else to do except to concentrate on getting her back on a leash.
- She hasn’t had breakfast yet, so putting her food in her dish and rattling it will probably do the trick!
There are truly more than three good things in that bad event, but you get the idea. The more you train yourself to look for the good things instead of the bad, the brighter your overall outlook will be. Why does that matter?
Human beings are hard-wired to focus on the negative. When CEO Caveman was leading his clan across the plains, they had to be alert to every twig snapping, ready to spring into fight or flight mode in case of an unfriendly takeover by head-hunter Saber-Toothed Tiger. Focusing on the negative worked then, but not now. Neurological research at universities like Harvard, Cambridge and Yale has illuminated a new truth – focusing on the positive builds morale, boosts productivity and plumps up the bottom line.
Here’s an exercise you can try: think of a time in your life when something bad happened to you, and find three good things that were part of that bad thing. If you can come up with more than three good things, great – list them all. Take a few minutes, come up with the awful event, then the three good things that were part of the event.
Do you see how focusing on the positive shifts how you view the event? Can you see how this could benefit you in all aspects of your life? A bad bout of office politics, or a dust-up at your child’s school, or even a disagreement between you and your best friend can produce anxiety, irritation or anger inside you, but that doesn’t serve you or those around you. When you introduce words like “it was an accident” or “that person was afraid, too” or “they were just doing the best they could” into your perception of the event, it smooths out the wrinkles. More importantly, it eases your anxiety level, which makes everyone around you feel better.
Instead of going straight to how it hurts you or how unfair it is or how you feel the need to justify your behavior, think about the good aspects of it. Finding three ways to give the other person/people the benefit of the doubt lifts your spirits and shifts your focus from problem to solution.
When we focus on what’s wrong, it causes fear, anger and resentment inside. When we focus on what’s right, it calms the stress, eases fears and builds our connectedness, instead of tearing it down.
And the brighter your outlook, the happier you’ll be!
I work with organizations to boost morale, productivity and the bottom line. To discuss how we can work together to improve your situation, email or call and I’ll customize a program to address your needs.