Negativity bias indicates that even when of equal intensity, things of negative nature tend to have a greater psychological impact on human beings than those considered neutral or good. This means that if you receive 99 thumbs up and one thumb down, you will most likely spend your greatest percentage of energy analyzing the negative feedback. If you close nine deals but fail to close one, you will agonize over that single missed opportunity. If the majority of things in your life are going well but one is not, all of the good will find itself neglected and stored away as you become consumed with the problem.
It is a good thing to remind yourself of this biological fact as you go about your day. The world feels like it is collapsing around you because you’re biologically wired to see it that way. The negative is standing out because it’s supposed to. However, it doesn’t have to. Consciously bringing awareness to the matter and realizing that your misfortune is comparable to a few clouds in an otherwise sunny sky will always help get you back on track.
The Pygmalion Effect
Studies have shown that when someone expects something to be true, it is much more likely to actually come true. Our expectations ultimately affect our behavior towards that person or thing, transforming our thoughts into reality. This phenomenon is also referred to as self-fulfilling prophecy and plays a big role in the idea of a “bad day.” When we endure a few rough patches in the AM and chalk up the day as a loss, the Pygmalion effect comes out in full force, helping us find ways to cast a negative shadow on the day’s events. It will make sure your actions align with the parameters that your expectations have established.
Similar to the negativity bias (as well as just about everything else in life) the solution starts upstairs. The ability to holistically see your day as a good thing will steer you to positive outcomes. You are not having a bad day; you are having a great day that happened to include a few hiccups. Great things happen to people having great days!
The Wake VS the Boat
People tend to see their current selves as a continuation of their past selves. For example, if you were to repeatedly average test scores in the mid 70’s, it is likely that you would identify yourself as a C student. This type of self-classification is limiting and often the root of unhappiness. If you’re down on yourself because you’re not where you want to be and things aren’t working out, remember this simple fact: the wake does not drive the boat. The boat’s wake is what it is. It can’t be changed or altered. The thing is, though, that is doesn’t need to be. The steering wheel is what matters now. You always have the ability to steer yourself into new, exciting, and opportunistic waters. Never forget that!
While certainly the most commonly referenced, this tip is quite possibly the most important as well. Just because something didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to doesn’t mean the outcome was a loss. If you make a point to learn from the situation, that negative result may end up being what helps you completely turn things around. It’s hard to view a series of events unfavorably when you know that the lessons learned are ultimately making you a better person. There’s a quotes that says, “I never lose. I either win or I learn.” Keep that one close to the vest. It eats bad days for breakfast.
True story: a day cannot be good or bad. It simply…is. While there is great benefit to simplification in many aspects of our lives, there is little value in this instance. We are genetically conditioned to simplify so that we can make sense of and better interact with the complexities that surround us. It is how we piece together what we otherwise might not understand and free up capacity for further growth. The issue arises, however, when this is applied to situations that may not warrant such an outlook. Packaging a string of unfortunate events together as a bad day provides a false explanation as to why they occurred, synonymously creating a fictional narrative.
A day cannot be good or bad because a day is nothing more than the way we measure a sequence of time. It is not a person and has no ill will toward you. In fact, the only reason a day is “a day” to begin with is because you made the decision to visualize it in such a way. It has no control and no agenda. Thinking otherwise transfers power from you to that which is uncontrollable. Don’t fall into this trap. You always have the power to get yourself to higher ground, regardless of the day, month, or year.
By Eddie Pinero @yourworldwithin