In last week’s post, Be a Joy Multiplier, there was one response mode that caused a flurry of comments and conversations.
That was the Joy Thief.
That’s when someone says “Hey, I got that promotion!” and the response is “Wow! You’ll be working a lot more hours now, right?”.
And it totally deflates their excitement.
Why do we do that? It’s almost as if we can’t stop ourselves.
The reason is the negativity bias.
The negativity bias comes from our brains evolving to be more sensitive to unpleasant events. It was a mechanism developed to increase our skill at dodging danger, and therefore surviving. But it doesn’t serve us nearly as well in a world where things (in general) don’t want to eat us!
So what are we to do until our evolution continues and the negativity bias is no longer part of our brain?
One answer is to Seek the Good Stuff.
Seeking the good stuff counters the negativity bias by learning how to notice positive things and analyze what is good about them. The act of doing that actually instills positive emotions in us.
It’s more than just jotting down something that made you happy that day, it includes a reflection component, where you also note one of the following:
Why this good thing happened
What the good thing means to you
What you can do tomorrow to get more of it
What ways you or someone else contributed to it
The good stuff can be something you brought on, things that you saw others do, or things in nature. The important part is the reflection. Here are some examples:
Traffic was amazing on the way home. I dislike my commute, so any time it’s as short as can be, I’m happy. Not to mention I talked to my mother and listened to my favorite podcast!
It snowed and the yard was beautiful with the snow clinging to the evergreens. It’s nice to remember that snow doesn’t always equal driveway shoveling and nasty roads; there’s beauty in it, too.
I got positive feedback from someone who took one of my classes several years ago. He raved about how life-changing it was and that he would love to sign up again as a refresher. It’s good to hear that you are making a lasting difference.