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.