Creative LeadershipEngaging Culture

Is Your Glass Half-Empty or Half-Full?

How are you looking at life?

I sat on a plane today next to an older women who was nice, but negative about everything. She was convinced our flight would be late, complained about her short turn-around at the connecting airport, knew she’d miss her flight, wasn’t happy with the meal, the plane was too old, and on and on and on. She had been in Los Angeles visiting her daughter and son-in-law, so she went off on LA drivers, her daughter’s tiny house (it’s so small that if you pour water out the windows you’ll water your next door neighbor’s garden), her son-in-law’s job she didn’t understand, and of course the weather.

She was a total bummer, and after awhile, I just started ignoring her. On most issues, she was so negative she didn’t even make sense. But it did make me realize the impact our attitude has on the people surrounding us, and how easily it is to get into a complaining, negative mode. I’ve caught myself doing it – usually after experiencing a frustrating situation. It’s almost as if your brain encounters a legitimate challenge, and then resets itself from that point on to see everything in a negative light.

Perhaps more often, is the number of people who complain in an effort to gain sympathy. They’ve discovered the attention they receive, and start to enjoy it. Whatever the case, think more about how your attitude impacts other people – especially if you’re a leader. While negativity might gain you a little sympathy in the short term, ultimately, people enjoy being around positive influences, and it won’t be long before you discover you’re all alone.

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  1. Good stuff Phil!

    I am NOT a proponent of the health/wealth gospel – BUT “death and life are in the power of the tongue.” (Prov. 18:21)  And every moment of every day we have the choice to speak one or the other to impact the atmosphere around us!

    SO TRUE!!

  2. I had a coworker come in on a Monday morning unusually cheery and full of smiles. To be honest, that impacted me for a couple of days. Just as easy as a downer can bring us into the mud, an upbeat person can have an impact that won’t wear off easily either.

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