In a world where we are consistently looking at who sees the glass as half full and who sees it as half empty, research has actually shown that when faced with a difficult challenge, people tend to see 90% negativity and 10% positivity.
There is no half-half going on there (unless my mathematics ability is far worse than I imagined – and even that is a negative assumption, isn’t it?)
Of course there are those really ‘strange’ and unusual people who are immensely positive and always see the good in everything but most people tend to focus on the negative.
Most likely, the negative is safer.
It is easier to say, “I knew that it would go wrong” or “I knew that I would fail” and be right about it than to say “wow! Look at how great I am!” and possibly be wrong about that.
In guarding ourselves, we fail to notice the positive that surrounds us and spend all of our energy just looking at the negative and feeling really miserable about it.
There is a fascinating term that I’ve heard being used when people are describing their high levels of stress at work to me – blamestorming. Blamestorming is when people meet for a “brainstorming session” and they work out who was to blame for a project failing. It tends to be filled with negativity and accusation and it is unfortunately very rare that anybody gets compliments or recognition for what they did do correctly in those sessions.
Yesterday, as we know, was the 12th anniversary of 9/11 – the day that the world seemed to change forever. Everywhere I looked, people were putting messages onto the social networks and it was trending on twitter: Where were you that day? What memories do you have of the day?
No matter where you were in the world at the time and whether it affected you directly or not, we were all shocked and horrified by what we saw.
12 years later, people still express a level of shock when they talk about it.
It is humbling, it is scary, it is traumatic.
But what about the good stories that came out of 9/11? Those stories are often overlooked.
Those stories of people who are doing amazing things for themselves and their communities – not despite the fact that they are 9/11 survivors but because they are survivors.
Those are the people who experienced trauma and mourned loss but came out of their experiences as stronger people with more to give to the world.
You can read some of their stories here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/11/9-11-survivors-_n_1872278.html#slide=1499389
Every negative experience that life throws at you is an opportunity to learn and grow.
Every person that you meet gives you the opportunity to learn something new.
Sometimes you just need to be quiet. Stop questioning. Just listen to what life has to say.
Sometimes those lessons are bigger than you ever imagined them to be.
You will survive this. And you will be wiser for it.
And one day, you might just be grateful for that 90% negative because the 10% positive that came out of it was so, so worth it!