I thought a lot about the negativity bias this week at my dog agility show this weekend. When you ask people how their run went, they will ALWAYS immediately tell you what went wrong. They may have executed 19/20 obstacles perfectly (or even 20/20!) but when you ask that question, they answer with one of the things that went wrong or could have been better. And, like Mark talks about, you get what you focus on! I realized you find this when you give the standard, “How are you?” greeting to people, too. Either they default to the standard “Good”, whether it is true or not, “Ok”, “Not too bad”, “Can’t complain”, “Could be worse”, etc., or they start telling you all the bad things going on. I usually answer, “Fabulous!” to that question, and you should see it take people off guard before it gets them to light up in response!
I decided to come up with a way to help people reframe to the positive, and also have a deeper interaction with people, even briefly. When it gets to that part of an interaction where I normally would have said, “So how are you today?”, I now ask, “What was the best thing that happened to you today?” The results were quite astounding. The people first freeze, because they aren’t used to hearing that, or thinking about it, then they usually start smiling thinking about that good thing. And because they shared something positive and personal with me, we share a deeper interaction and I remember them, whereas I have no recollection of all the people who told me they were “Good” over the years. It was so powerful! I have LOVED the results and am going to keep doing that as my way to help other people start on a mini Mental Diet! 🙂
So…what’s the best thing that happened to YOU today?