See the Good and Turn Around a Bad Deal by Dr. Lynn K. Jones
Do you see a bad deal everywhere you look? If you do, you are not alone. It turns out that, in the realm of perception, bad is stronger than good. A comprehensive summary of research in how bad trumps good in our lives was published in The Review of General Psychology. We remember a bad experience more vividly than a good one. We learn more quickly from punishment than from reward. An unkind word does more damage than a positive comment can repair. A bad first impression lasts longer than a good one.
Do you see the young woman or the old lady? Overall, bad events produce more emotion, have longer-lasting effects and exert a greater influence on our behaviour. They are more enduring too. Once you see the young woman or old lady in the image it is next to impossible to see the other.
Psychologists speculate that our species developed this bias toward the bad as a survival mechanism. In a world of predators and menace, reacting to the bad clues paid off. And when bad things happened, something needed to change; survival favoured the adaptive, and so our ancestors became hyper-alert to the bad. But we no longer live in a world of tooth and claw. Today, our bias toward the bad can inhibit our development, blind us to opportunity and interfere with our relationships. It can cause us to see a problem as a threat, rather than an issue to be dealt with.
Appreciative Inquiry reverses our natural negative bias. It focuses on the positive: first identify what’s working and then build on that. Rather than trying to fix what’s wrong, develop what’s right. Sounds easy, but it requires us to unlearn the lesson passed on to us by generations of surviving ancestors. That requires effort and discipline.
Questions to Ask Yourself:
Where are you seeing the bad when you should be seeing the good?
Ask 3 trustworthy people to point out your biggest blind spot?
How can you act from trust rather than paranoia?