People tend to look at the world we live in as either positive or negative, with a few people choosing to believe they are realistic instead. Some negatively obsess over the death toll, the impact on the economy, the life that has been taken away. Others focus on the benefits this situation has brought us: being given time at home away from the crazy whirlwind we used to live, time to appreciate some of the smaller aspects of life, and the bringing together of communities. Being realistic recognizes the negative and positive sides of the situation.
But are you really realistic? Are you really focusing on both, or are you more negative, yet realize you don’t want to be negative and instead add in the positive so that you look balanced?
[ctt template=”3″ link=”0P6H1″ via=”yes” ]Are you realistic or negative and trying to look like a balanced thinker?[/ctt]
If I talk about how lonely I am working from home, do you respond with, “I hate working at home too. I work insanely long hours, no one sees what I do, and they email me at all hours!” That is a negative response. If I follow up and say, “But I do love the short commute, and overall, I think I am more efficient,” you realize your response was negative and try to correct it by saying, “Oh, for sure. It is great, and although lonely, I’ll miss it when we go back to the office.”
Are you like that? Do you focus on the positive, negative, or do you feel that you are realistic? Are you truly realistic, or are you compensating for your negative perception?
I have a friend who believes they are realistic, except what I hear is the negative. When I point out the positive, they confirm that the positive is also true. They reinforce they are realistic, but I hear negative. They think they are looking at both sides of the situation as they agree with the points I bring forward that disagree.
Is that realistic?
Here are a few tips to ensure that you are realistic instead of compensating for being negative.
Respond, don’t react. Responses are a choice. You choose what you will say and do in a situation. A reaction is instinctive. When I’m in traffic, I react to any dangers that happen to keep me safe. I don’t think through what to do when I hit a patch of ice. I react instinctively. However, I can choose how I respond to the situation by what I say or how I tell the story of the situation. If someone cuts me off, my driving will be a reaction. If I yell, cut them off in return, or shout out obscenities at him, it is a reaction. When a negative topic is introduced into the conversation, I can take a millisecond and pause so that I can think about what I’m going to say. By taking that extra time, I am not reacting to the conversation; I am responding, which allows me to be more realistic. I don’t want to react negatively and try to cover it up by being realistic. I want to position my statements to be appropriately realistic or positive.
Emotions = extreme thinking. If you are highly emotional about something, you will be extremely positive or negative. You aren’t likely to be realistic and see both viewpoints. Know those subjects where you are emotional.
Politics is a good example. Suppose I ask you your viewpoint on how the President is doing. In that case, you are likely to respond either extremely negative or extremely positive if you are emotional about politics (and we all know many people who are!). If you want to be realistic in your responses, recognize those areas where you are emotional about the situation to coach yourself on how you choose to respond. Know your triggers.
Ask questions. When we make assumptions, we can jump to conclusions. When we jump to conclusions, we can easily lean either positive or negative. Ask questions before you state your opinion. Finding out all the information will allow you to be more realistic about the situation and see all sides of the story.
Force the positive (or negative). If you can only see the negative (or positive) in a situation, force yourself to find one positive thing for every negative thing you naturally see (and vice versa).
For instance, if you are frustrated that you are on the bottom of the list to get your vacation approved, find something positive about that, like the fact that an off-season vacation would be less expensive and less crowded. If you don’t like that your workspace cubicle is in the open, you could, instead, focus on the fact that that allows you to create better relationships with your co-workers.
Recognize when you say something positive or negative, and force yourself to find something from the opposite perspective. Some of your answers will make you laugh, and some you won’t believe, but it will help you get in the habit of seeing both sides of the situation.
If you really are a realistic thinker, kudos to you. However, if you are a negative thinker and are trying to show you can see all sides of the story, you still need more work. We all see right through your strategy.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”R62Y5″ via=”yes” ]While we all want to be positive thinkers, let’s get realistic too! Stop pretending to be a balanced thinker and start actually thinking in a balance way.[/ctt]
While we all want to be positive thinkers, let’s get realistic right too! Stop pretending to be a balanced thinker and start actually thinking in a balanced way.