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:

  1. Closed minds.
  2. Misapplied energy that could support positive behaviors.
  3. Unbalanced judgments.
  4. 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?