Can You Afford to be Negative?

My wife, Sheila and I are in our 70’s now but she doesn’t look it. I do. When I meet someone for the first time, I tell them that I served at the last supper. I usually get a laugh or two, but this week I didn’t. We have been helping a neighborhood friend to revamp a local radio station by bringing them into the modern era. This once proactive and well-known radio station is in a great area, but unfortunately, the station is filled with some very negative people. Observing their negativity is not going to get the best of me even though our country is in its worst state of negativity. I can see why that radio station chose the wrong path. It’s what they hired.

Negativity costs businesses billions every year in lost productivity according to the Gallup Organization, and this number is conservative since it doesn’t consider the ripple effect of complaining and negativity. In fact, Gallup’s most recent report goes on to say that last year’s negativity was the worst in 15 years. There’s no doubt that rising gas, food, energy, transportation, inflation, and housing prices as well as climbing of interest rates can have a negative effect on businesses and their employees. Furthermore, people want to complain just for complaining rights, whether it’s about the economy or life in general. Negativity creates stress.

Now listen to this, 90% of doctor visits are stress-related according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention; and the #1 cause of office stress is co-workers and their complaining. Here’s another example. A study found that negative employees can scare off every customer they speak with for good. So, consider reading Tom Rath’s book, How Full is Your Bucket?

You and I know that too many negative interactions compared to positive interactions at work can decrease the productivity of your team. It’s my goal that this radio station owner understands that. Research done by Barbara Fredrickson at the University of Michigan has proven that negativity is harmful to people and business and that positive work environments outperform negative work environments. She’s saying that as business owners, it’s our responsibility to create a positive environment. Joel Osteen, a pastor, televangelist, and author based in Houston, Texas states it simply, “If you cannot be positive, then at least, be quiet.” My mother, and probably yours too, put it a different way, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything.” Negativity can be unnerving. It’s my belief that negativity affects the morale, performance, and productivity of our teams. Just one negative person can create a miserable office environment for everyone else. You might have had that happen at your business.

In recycling, I will name some of the things that negative emotions are associated with; see if you agree.

  • Decreased life span and longevity.
  • Increased risk of heart attack.
  • Increased risk of stroke, greater stress, less energy, more pain?

Now, start today to monitor your thoughts and words. You would be amazed at the thoughts that pop into your head and come out your mouth. In the morning, write a list of things for which you are thankful, then weave them into your day. If you think of things that you are grateful for, you won’t have time to think negatively. Focus on what is right with your life not on what is not!

Everyone knows people who continuously complain. I try to avoid them at all costs, but I still see them at conventions and businesses. To avoid them, I pivot and walk in the opposite direction. If you must complain to me about something, bring me one or two possible solutions to the complaint, and let’s work together to change the situation. What I’ve found is that a seemingly negative person who can present a couple solutions might be right on with what needs to be done. Just remember, if they’re negative, they must present a couple constructive solutions to get my attention. This is exactly what I’m asking the negative person to do at that radio station. We shall see what happens there, but they can’t afford to stay negative.

It’s my goal to be around as many people as possible in 2022 but prefer positive people that know what direction they are going. At this point in my life, I cannot afford to be negative because life’s not fair. I am, however, going to make the best of what I was dealt and move forward with positivity.

See you on the next “URG on-the-Go” podcast.

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Correspondence regarding this article should go to: D.J. Says, 2820 Andover Way, Woodstock, GA 30189

D. J. Harrington is an author, journalist, seminar leader, international trainer, and marketing consultant. He works primarily with customer service personnel, and his clients include such world-class companies as General Motors, DuPont, Caterpillar, and Damon Corporation. He may be reached at 800-352-5252. E-mail: 52 weeks a year, we are as close as your telephone.