How to Stop Obsessing Over Negatives and Become a Positive Leader
Like a drop of poison in a glass of water, one problem has the power to pollute everything. It’s natural to obsess over one bad thing and forget many good things.
Successful leaders never let one negative thing contaminate everything.
One thing thinking: Negative qualities
One thing thinking contaminates everything when one negative quality becomes your lens of judgement. Suppose you have a team member who constantly arrives five minutes late for meetings. (I hate that.) They’re great with people, highly skilled, and serve clients well.
Where would you be without “Mr. Five Minutes Late”? Does he bring value? Stop obsessing over one negative quality*.
One thing thinking: Confusion
A single point of confusion has the power to make everything seem confusing.
Never let one area of confusion paralyze everything. Take action on what’s clear – while you work to find clarity where there’s confusion.
Act on your highest point of clarity with as much boldness as you dare.
4 results of one thing thinking:
- Closed minds.
- Misapplied energy that could support positive behaviors.
- Unbalanced judgments.
- Narrowed perspectives and small leadership.
Rise above one thing thinking:
*Because I said, “Stop obsessing over one negative quality,” you may have assumed that I meant forget all about Mr. Five Minutes Late’s tardiness. “All or nothing thinking” holds leaders back. Go ahead and obsess about one negative, as long as you obsess over positives.
Obsess about honor and gratitude as much as you obsess over fixing problems. (Yes, the typo in the image is meant to tickle your obsession.)
Don’t let the small picture overshadow the big picture.
You might try a “just for today” approach. Just for today, let go of nagging Mr. Five Minutes Late. Nag him tomorrow. Just for today, notice his value and contributions. Don’t worry about becoming overly positive. Problems always find leaders.
What are your best tips for overcoming one thing thinking?
I almost missed the message today because I found myself obsessing over the typo in the picture. Then I realized, that is the message! Don’t obsess over one small error, look at the good around it and celebrate that!
Thanks Duane. Yes, I was messing with you. Although, I’m totally capable of typos. I bang these posts out every day. It’s rare that they don’t need a little touch up. 🙂
We must be in synch.
Yesterday our leadership team was having a conversation about the effect a make-a-difference award was having on the culture of the teams. The award is nominated by managers identifying those that go the extra 1%, make a difference each day, visibly life the values. In 3 months is it noticeably affecting culture.
The irony is that the team aren’t aware of the awards at all until they are given one, just the managers know what’s going on. Then they clicked, the aim of the award is partly to recognise the great people we have, but also to get the leaders looking for the good and overlooking the little things people do poorly.
Thanks for today’s blog. Nice verification we are on a good path.
I would suggest putting another, possibly more real, meaningful scenario as another example if it looking like a “one thing thinking” scenario but……with a slight difference. Try to widen the “one thing thinking” boundaries, take them slowly and step by step into the unknown yet slightly familiar territory, gradually broaden their horizons.
I will add, I am not a leader, as you may already have gathered but I do enjoy your blogs, commenting from a non-leader perspective, possibly providing you with further insight, additional new perspective from what you may currently have. Have a great day!
You might not have the title but the fact that you are reading the blog tells me you probably are a leader.
Thanks Z, I think I’ll take that as a compliment although, it more than likely ‘a comment’. 🙂 Albeit, I can certainly assure you, in reality, I am not not a leader nor am I likely to be as well as not, being good at accepting compliments which I tend to think, “okay, what do I say to that”, they actually fluster me a bit. I do enjoy the blogs though, think they are pretty darn real to life.
Thinker, accepting compliments is difficult for most people. We’re taught to be humble and not think too highly of ourselves. While that’s not especially helpful, it is what it is.
Try just saying “thank you” when someone compliments you. They’re being generous by giving you the compliment, and simply thanking them allows them to enjoy giving you that gift as well.
Quit obsessing about the projection that some ONE won’t agree and that ONE’s projection of failure. ..”that won’t work”… Obsess over what WE (usually much more that just ONE) can control and how we can still impact many. Obsess over our behavior first, results should follow (I heard that “somewhere”…)
This is helpful Dan – thank you. I’m in the process of letting go of perfectionism and “one thing” thinking about people is a category of it I hadn’t realized before. Have loved your posts this last week.
Re: your question, to stop obsessing about “one thing” someone else is doing I find it helpful to 1) take a walk and/ or 2) think about how to either address what’s bothering me or move on and work on something in my life that I have control over.
Thanks Dan for yet another really thoughtful and useful post.
To overcome ‘one thing’ thinking, I find I need to be present, really aware of my thoughts and those of others. If I find myself obsessing about one thing, I become curious and reflect on what is going on for me. This enhanced awareness helps me turn off the judging comments in my head and become open to thinking about other things so my thoughts are more open and flexible, less stuck in one place.
I think all of us have been guilty of it that once in our lives we have focused on the negative and flaws of people. Until such time that we realize that we don’t get anything out of that, instead just focused on the great things about that person. It’s really important that we know how to look at the better side of everything.