Negativity is a killer. That is not just a metaphor, but a reality. In the 1950’s the North Koreans used four primary tactics on their prisoners of war; (a) informing, (b) self-criticism, (c) breaking loyalty to leadership and country, and (d) with-holding all positive emotional support. These tactics resulted in a 38 percent POW death rate—the highest in military history. So, the next time you hear someone say “sticks and stone may break my bone, but words will never hurt me.” Don’t believe it. Negativity kills.
Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton, authors of “How Full Is Your Bucket,” suggest several ways we can counter the effects of negativity. Here are a few:
“Shine a light on what is right.”
Learn to look for and focus on the positive in yourself and in others. None of us are perfect. We know that. But, let others be victims if they wish. We are better than that, so let’s act like it.
“Make best friends.”
The idea here is to have high-quality social relationships and then do all you can to encourage and build those people up. In your tough times they become the resource that sees you through. In their tough times you become the gift they need to survive. The really good news is that the more you do this the more people will want to be around you.
We all know how important it is to give gifts to others. But too often, we give too little, to too few, and too late. We think gifts need to be big, but the best gifts are the little things done on the spur of the moment. The real secret to giving is to do it on a daily basis, make it personal, and remember “the best gifts are those that are a surprise.”
“Reverse the Golden Rule.”
Rath and Clifton suggest we reverse the Golden Rule and “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.” Praise and recognition only makes sense if it makes sense to the person getting it. Learn what makes sense to your family and friends and then, make it happen. In all of this, it is the little things that make all the difference.