Negativity bias kills our mojo
Our negativity bias kills our mojo...
...that is, only if we allow it, :)
Tell me if this scenario sounds familiar:
You give a talk in front of a large room of people, you are in a flow state, delivering your message with passion and purpose, connecting directly with members of the audience, hitting all of your main points with such emphasis and clarity that you feel the words flowing out of you in such a natural and organic way…
...Everything feels in order, and you are on a roll.
At the conclusion of the talk, the audience bursts into a huge roar of applause and appreciation for your effort.
Afterwards, you are surrounded by a sea of appreciative folks who want to thank you for such a moving talk, who want to shake your hand, give you a hug, and want to let you know that you have inspired them.
Afterwards, you post an image from this talk to social, and the congratulatory vibe continues as your friends, colleagues and mentors weigh in positively on your effort and encourage you to keep doing what you’re doing.
It’s a moment in your life to be savored, a magical and cathartic experience that adds a heaping ton of positive emotional capital for you.
You feel like you’re on top of the fucking world, clear on your goals and purpose.
Later that day, you scroll through the comments section, and happen to notice one, random comment in the thread that blaringly stands out from the others.
In this comment, the person referred to your talk as “pedestrian,” “ho-hum” and “I was expecting more, and left disappointed…”
In a heartbeat, all of that positive emotional capital you earned from all the positive reinforcement that’s been thrown your way goes right down the drain, and you find yourself questioning your entire effort.
That unfortunately leads you down a dark and lonely, rabbit hole and you begin to question your whole motive for pursuing this career, leaving you feeling anxious, unsure and disillusioned.
Just like that - your shine has been completely dulled.
What a shitty feeling, right?
Despite the immense amount of adulation and appreciation for your work, who you are, what you stand for and how you help others, one negative comment throws us completely off the rails.
The good news here is that you are not alone - we all have experienced this feeling.
This type of thinking is referred to in psychology circles as exhibiting a negativity bias.
Our brains ignore the 99 things that went right in a given situation or scenario, and we harp on and focus on the one thing that went wrong, to the point that it upsets, paralyzes and depresses us to no end.
It’s incredible how our mental state is always at a “handle with care” state, especially when we’re talking about entrepreneurs.
Why is that?
Our thoughts, feelings, vulnerabilities and, yes, our work, is put out for public consumption on a daily basis, which invites those to engage and share their own thoughts and feelings on our posts.
In some cases, they don’t share the same opinion or enthusiasm, and they let us know in an unfiltered and, sometimes, unhinged, type of way.
Rather than brushing it off as someone’s opinion to which they’re entitled, we ruminate on their sentiments, allow it to cloud our big picture and leaves us, ultimately, questioning our motives and effort.
Of course, this is not how it has to go down for us, so long as we maintain perspective and have a plan in place to handle the negativity that’s just hijacked our present moment.
Rather than allowing your thunder to be completely seized from you, the best way to handle these negative responses is with a positivity-inducing process that involves self-awareness, self-compassion and self-care.
Be aware that despite the overwhelming positive response you receive for your work, not everyone is going to like it, or you, for that matter.
Understand that whatever you put out for public consumption - be it a talk, blog, social post or comment - is not going to be received by everyone in the same manner.
When you do receive a hyper-negative response, be compassionate to yourself and your feelings, and allow yourself the space to digest their opinion and just let it be.
Don’t allow yourself to engage in a negative mind chatter loop that leaves you in the corner of the room in the fetal position, staring at the wall.
Process the moment by remembering that not everyone is fawning over your effort, and that’s totally okay. Your work is respected and appreciated by many, most notably, yourself.
Once you’ve provided yourself with ample amounts of compassion, provide some self-care to get past the moment.
Now, self-care can present itself in a variety of ways, such as stepping away from the computer, taking a walk, have a cup of tea/coffee, vent about the feelings with a friend, or, meditating to get reset and back to the present moment.
The key is to find out what works best for you and do it so that it expedites flushing out your system of toxic thoughts and gets you ready to go on about your day in a positive and more productive, manner.
The morale of this story - you can’t please everyone, so don’t - screw it!
Don’t let those who don’t serve you take control of the wheel of your emotions and drive it off course.
You know why you’re on this Earth - keep doing your thing so those who need to hear what you have to say most will be able to turn to you for help.
Have you experienced a negativity bias recently? What was the trigger? And, how did you move past it?
PS - For those of you who aren’t in the know, I mail out these blogs 3x a week, and lemme tell you, they’re a real party, so, if you’d like to get in on this, sign up for it here and I’ll throw in a free gift for you...because I care, :)