Addicted to Negativity
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Posted by: Dr. Alan Zimmerman
Dr. Zimmerman’s TUESDAY
"Positive anything is
better than negative nothing.”
Elbert Hubbard, 19th
Dr. Alan Zimmerman’s
Robert brought flowers to his
departed wife’s grave once a week. On one such visit, he heard painful sobs
from a nearby plot and was touched by the sight of a man crying unabashedly
while clutching a tombstone saying, "Why? Why did you have to die? Why?”
Approaching carefully, Robert
told the man, "Hello, you must love your departed one very very much. Was she
The man looked up with tears in
his eyes and replied, "No! My wife’s first husband!”
Obviously, the sobbing man was
gripped in negativity rather than grief. And maybe you seem to be stuck in a
difficult situation with a negative attitude. Well, you’ve got to STOP it. As
my mentor Zig Ziglar used to say, "Positive thinking will let you do everything
better than negative thinking will.”
And yet, you may be so mired in
negativity that you can’t even imagine stopping your negative thoughts "cold
turkey.” I understand that. After all, if you can’t go 24 hours without alcohol,
you’re addicted to alcohol. If you can’t go 24 hours without a cigarette,
you’re addicted to nicotine. And if you can’t go 24 hours without a negative
thought, you’re addicted to negative thinking.
So I would suggest you take it
easy, but take these steps.
1. Start by noticing when
you are thinking negatively.
You don’t have to do anything
about it … yet. Just recognize what’s going on inside you.
2. Pause before you react.
When you notice yourself
getting upset about something, tell yourself, "I’m going to wait two minutes
before I react. I’m going to think about something else that is more uplifting
for two minutes.” Eventually you can work yourself up to 3, 4, or 5 minutes …
putting some space between your automatic reaction and your postponed response.
You’re starting to take control of your attitude.
3. Declare some
"negative-free zones” throughout the day.
It’s what authors John-Roger
and Peter McWilliams advise. And I agree. Plan out several two-minute segments
throughout your day in which you will not allow one negative thought to pass
through your mind. And if a negative thought does slip in, immediately replace
it with a focus on something positive.
4. Pick minor areas where
you will no longer allow yourself to think about … negatively.
You could start with something
as tiny as the disarray you see in someone’s office. Start telling yourself,
"No matter how unprofessional her office appears, I refuse to get upset about
it. If she’s getting her work done and pleasing the customers, it’s none of my
Bob Newhart, the comedian,
applied this technique to something tiny in his life … with modest success. He
doesn’t like country music, so instead of getting upset about it, he said, "I
don’t like country music, but I don’t mean to denigrate those who do. And for
the people who like country music, denigrate means ‘put down!’”
Gradually expand your list
until it includes all the nonessential … but sometimes irritating … parts of
your life that could take you down the road of negativity.
5. Increase the duration of
your "negative-free zones.”
Add a minute each day to your
positive thinking periods. Eventually, you’ll arrive at the "tipping point”
where your mind naturally and automatically begins to think more positively,
more frequently, for longer periods of time.
Of course, the cynics wonder if
all this emphasis on the positive isn’t a waste of time. Not at all. The
positive response is almost always the better response. As one person noted,
"Although at the moment they may be equal in their lack of a real answer, the
man who replies ‘I’ll find out’ is much more valuable to his employer, his
neighbor, and to himself than the man who replies ‘I don’t know.’”
6. Add more central areas
of your life where you refuse to think negatively.
You may decide that you’ll do
no more negative thinking about a particular relationship and then extend it to
all relationships. Over time, add other key areas of your life … such as work,
business, money, health, or whatever … where you refuse to fret about, worry
over, or get all angry about.
That doesn’t’ mean that you
live and work in a state of denial and ignorant bliss. That would be stupid.
But instead of wasting your time on negative thinking, you switch over to
positive dismissal and positive action. In other words, some things aren’t
worth your time to even think about while others things are important to do
You see … everyone dies but not
everyone lives. You can live SO MUCH better if you eliminate the negative and
accentuate the positive.
Select five, two-minute
periods that you will set aside each day for positive thinking only.
To Your Success,
Dr. Alan Zimmerman
As a best-selling author and
Hall of Fame professional speaker, Dr. Alan Zimmerman is focused on
"transforming the people side of business.” His keynotes and seminars are noted
for high content, high energy, and high involvement that transform people’s lives
and the companies where they work. Click
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