by Tamara A.
I don’t know how many people are victim to the thinking of the positivity effect, but I am definitely one of them. In psychology, this is the tendency to think that positive behavior is due to a person’s inherent disposition while any negative behavior to due to a person’s environment. And victim isn’t the right word for me…or anyone else that thinks this. That implies that it is unfortunate that we think in this way. And it isn’t unfortunate. It’s hopeful. I believe in the natural good that exists in all humans. Maybe I am being naïve in thinking that the basic morals and values that I find true in life and to humanity are intrinsic to each individual. Maybe it is silly for me to be certain that everyone is born with some decency, that there are some things that every single human being can understand as being right or wrong. And just maybe, I am a little ridiculous for believing that the bad found in the world and all the crime and hate exuded by people is a result of personal situations and surrounding environment. But that’s just me. I have a strong faith in the power of humanity and the good that exists in each and every person. I choose to have a positive outlook. Positivity makes life easier and better.
On the opposite end, there is negativity. Next to yawning, negativity may be one of the most contagious things that I have ever come across. It spreads like wildfire and can be incredibly difficult to shake at times. Everyone has that pessimistic friend that seems to find the down side to everything. You don’t even want to tell them good news because of the chance that they’ll knock you from the wave that you’re riding. It is impossible not to have the occasional “Debbie Downer” moment. I admit to having my times every now and again when I complain or nag unnecessarily about anything, just because. But it is completely energy draining to stay in a negative state. Why waste so much time and strength being all frowny and skeptical when life is meant to be enjoyed?
As a marketing student in college, I really enjoyed Consumer Behavior and classes that dove into the psychological reasoning and behavior patterns of consumers. One lesson that was pounded into our heads was the power of word of mouth marketing. People are way more likely to try a service or buy a product if they know someone who has had a positive experience with it. Inversely, if a consumer knows someone who has had a negative experience with it then there is a much higher chance that they will never touch that product. Because the internet has allowed us to create wider communities, personal experiences that once only reached friends and family are now being spread to our extended online friends and family. As a rule of thumb, negative reviews carry much more weight in people’s minds and can cause serious damage to a brand’s reputation. Each and every complaint, especially in any kind of online forum or publication, requires a team of marketers to immediately work to minimize damage and stop it from snowballing. But this same effect is true outside of just the business world.
I experienced this during my time volunteering. It would be a lie to say that everything about being a volunteer, entering into a different community or culture, and working with a group of people is just as smooth as can be. There is always some kind of conflict whether it is big or small. One negative attitude amongst the group can be completely toxic and start to eat away at the energy and efforts of the whole. It is so important to keep in mind the greater good that is going on and know that any minor discomforts that happen along the way are for a purpose. We should look at any obstacle, as a challenge, something that can only strengthen us.
Why should we waste time with negative thoughts? It’s not productive and brings others down. Positivity can be contagious too. Start with the decision to look at things in a new light. Smile. You will be amazed how easily it comes and how much better it’ll make you feel.