Every self-help/personal development content has been centered on, or at least mentions the importance of “thinking positive” and “keeping a positive outlook”.
I personally find it really annoying! Now, naturally, it’s easy to understand why that would be a beneficial principle to present to a crowd hungry for anything uplifting: if you think of positive outcomes, you’re more likely to be excited to move towards it and exert energy towards its accomplishment.
But what if we’re setting ourselves up for failure with “positive thinking”?
What if seeing the world only with “rose colored glasses” could redirect you from what you sought to begin with?
I have been told so many times that my “positivity” is annoying, fluffy or naive!
Obviously those comments belong to the perpetrators as they are expressing their own trigger, and projecting on me. Secondly, I believe a distinction must be made between positivity and optimism because most people don’t identify the difference. The first feels forceful, unauthentic and linearly focussed on using the feeling of positivity as a reassuring bouey. It feels like a mask that can be taken off only to reveal a coping mechanism veiling defeatist thoughts, low vibrational behavior.
Optimism, however, is choosing to consider all contributing factors that may affect the chosen outcome and mindfully opting to weigh those in order to balance out intention, facts and direction. It is in fact risk management merged with wholehearted intent and the deep knowing that faith brings to any equation.
Optimism requires one of my favorite beliefs in life: faith. Having faith is not specifically a religious concept. It is a conscious choice to trust that no matter what the fears are, no matter the surrounding uncertainty, no matter how much pushing is being done to make the outcome happen…there is confidence, certainty and respect in believing that nothing, or no one, falls under our complete control. As I love to frame it: control is an illusion ego loves to rely upon for the illusion of certainty. Faith is a vital belief to own for the best outcome to prevail.
Jim Collins in Good to Great also introduces faith as a critical, even “life and death” component to add to optimism in his “Stockdale Paradox”. Named after Admiral Stockdale, an 8 year prisoner of the Vietnam war who was tortured yet managed to help every other prisoner survive the physical and emotional torment, Collins interviewed Stockdale to identify key takeaways on the ingredients to survival: “Who didn’t make it out?”
“Oh, thats easy, the optimists” Stockdale replied.
He explained “the optimists would believe they’d be out by Christmas and Christmas would come and go. Then the same for Easter, and the years would tick by like that.”
“They died of a broken heart”.
Stocdale told Collins “This is a very important lesson. You can bever confuse faith that you will prevail in the end with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality.”
I believe Collins referred to my “Positivists” as faith is an integral part of optimism.
As Brene Brown identifies, “gritty faith and gritty facts” allows all of us to step out of a dangerous binary thinking that leads to blindspots in people and companies. This versus that. Finance versus Marketing. Spenders versus savers. Dreamers versus rigid thinkers. Love versus fear. Humans versus analytics, or humans versus the financial results. Patriarchy versus matriarchy, or Men versus Women. Both must find a way to co-exist, both are essential to the equation just like IQ AND EQ.
“Binary thinking is very dangerous because it does not leverage the fullness in people. Roles become caricatures and stereotypes.” B Brown.
When we get stuck in binary perception, we miss the common ground, the collaborative, the co-creation of two polar opposites that form coherence. Leaders, a binary thought process is finite, failing and old! It vacuums out synergy, balance, and talent of any culture.
It’s a form of bias. When we think binarily, we limit.
When we only see the world through rose colored glasses without faith and real facts, we are limited. Gritty faith must coexist with gritty facts, otherwise you may fail and die!
NOW… more than ever, no one – or no organization – will survive blind positivity and binary thinking! Do you recognize yourself in binary thinking? Do you want to reframe your perception of leadership and stretch the limits you have imposed on talent, innovation, engagement and/or retention so thriving humans grow your business?
Let’s have a conversation to explore how I can support you by Booking here