A 75/25 balance between a positive and negative outlook is ideal, according to Emotional Intelligence experts -- thus answering the quesiton once and for all if it's best our glass is half empty or half full. 3/4 full works best.
Yet the daily avalanche of wireless and live workplace interactions supports the more half empty, negative outlook. In fact, problems and demands are so dominant that positive messages can sound weird. You’re much more likely to hear “What’s the problem?” than “What’s going well here?”
From my work with many executives, I know that when you strike the right balance between a positive and negative outlook you lead more skillfully and live a better life, and help others do the same. It’s not magic: By resetting to 75+/25- each day, you enable engagement, creativity, good health, and reduce stress.
Example: Yesterday, while waiting in the check in line for a flight, I noticed a guy standing in front of a ticket agent for at least 20 minutes. I studied his agent’s face: the years of dealing with people’s negativity showed, and my heart went out to her.
As I came up to the kiosk next to him, she got off the phone, and gave him the bad news that he wasn’t getting home until tomorrow. I expected his wrath, typical traveler behavior, and, much to my (and likely her) surprise, he said, “Jean, thank you. You’ve been patient and thoughtful getting me rebooked, and I know it’s not easy. You’re a gem.” She beamed. Her life was slightly better in that moment. Now imagine many of these moments every day, and how that would change Jean’s life—she would even look different.
We’ve all heard about the “power of positive thinking,” but flick on the news, and you’ll see the world seems to prefer tuning in to the negative most of the time. Where’s the good stuff?
The answer: it’s everywhere. It’s free of charge, too. It just requires (at first) some effort to look for it, find it, and call it. Use your connectivity to send a positive message, tell someone you appreciate, admire, or commend something they did, or what they bring to the table.
At the start of each day, remind yourself (a sticky note on your computer?) to set your balance at 75+/25- and find the good. Don’t worry, the world will still deliver struggle and pain, and I’m not suggesting you ignore that -- you can still access the 25- whenever you need it, but let’s make it the exception and not the rule.