“Never wrestle with a pig. You’ll both end up filthy, but the pig enjoys it.”
- country wisdom
“He wants to see us…“
(with the whine of a 6 year-old) “Oh man…what for?“
“I don’t know, but he’s on a witch hunt today so leave your pointy hat here.“
My former boss was something of a legend when it came to his moods. One moment he was affable and easy going… the next, he was a ruthless dictator hell-bent on making everyone in the county miserable.
I’m not sure if he is bi-polar, has early dementia, or is just a butt-head. Regardless, I once told him that he was the type that someone might take a bullet for, or put a bullet in. He seemed to like that.
It seemed that his biggest pleasure was to bring someone else into the abyss with him. There were times that the only way to stop a tirade was to engage his argument. The best part was when you let the idiocy of the topic get to you and really let him have it. He would stop at one point and say something like,
“Why are you taking this personally?” or
“You’ve got some anger issues.” It was great!
You might imagine, he was a bit difficult to work around. Though his antics were rather unique, he’s not the only negative person out there.
We all have people in our lives that are constant sources of anxiety and aggravation. Our aim is to better our lives, be more fulfilled and productive… their aim is to shoot all of that down. Or so it seems.
Let’s start first by identifying what I mean by negative.
Negative is an unrelenting focus on what is wrong. The tendency to grab hold of the problem so tightly that they can’t receive a solution. Negative people are one dimensional and are put off by the idea that you want to focus on possibility instead of scarcity.
(by the way… negative people will call this behavior “realism” or “reality thinking.” Acknowledging the thorns and ignoring the rose is NOT reality.)
Bringing up a potential downside or voicing a concern is NOT negativity. Just because a notion or concern isn’t popular doesn’t make the bearer a negative person.
Often, the voice of the controversy is needed to make sure the best decision is made. When someone brings up a point or asks a question that slows the momentum of a decision, honor it. Make sure that question is answered as best you can before moving on. That perceived negativity might turn out to be the moment of clarity that saves you massive heartache down the road.
- Is this concern relevant to the action we are considering?
- Am I uncomfortable with this concern because it might change our course of action?
- Did we legitimately overlook something and now need to revisit our approach?
- Can we use this concern to evaluate our solution’s strength?
After you’ve answered these questions satisfactorily and without prejudice, the issue should lay down. If the same person continues to push this concern or jumps from one superficial argument to the next… you may have a negative person on your hands. We’ll cover how to handle these personality types (like my former boss) in the next post.
For now, remember that opposition is necessary for optimum solutions. If you’re proposed course of action isn’t strong enough to withstand a little nay-saying, it probably isn’t a very good solution.
Consider the contrary positions. You might find a perspective and wisdom inside of them that vaults you to new success… or at least saves your butt from a massive mistake.
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PJ McClure helps aspiring entrepreneurs to multi-million dollar business owners destroy roadblocks and seize opportunities to achieve their ideal vision of success. He is an award-winning speaker and the best-selling author of Flip the SWITCH: How to Turn On and Turn Up Your Mindset and Unlock Your Life: How to go beyond Time-Management to the Life of Your Dreams. You can download a copy of Flip the SWITCH for Free by clicking here.