I'm Positive You're Negative

By Robert Goldman

August 25, 2016 6 min read

Is there anything worse than working with a person who starts every day with a smile? A person who believes that management has their best interests at heart; that hard work is always rewarded; that despite all the evidence to the contrary, you actually have their back?

Yes, there's nothing more negative than working with someone who is always positive.

Not that Megan Wycklendt would agree.

Wycklendt writes for a relentlessly positive online publication, Fulfillment Daily.

Bringing the world "science-based news for a happier life" is the mission of Fulfillment Daily, and while we can't be sure if Wycklendt's post, "10 Simple Habits to Grow a Positive Attitude," will win a Nobel Prize over my own brilliant work in determining the ideal proportions of gin and vermouth in the classic Negroni, it's nice to know that not all scientists are focused on sending mice to Mars. Some scientists just want us to have fun.

"Keep a gratitude journal" is simple habit No. 1.

"Gratitude can significantly increase your happiness," Wycklendt writes, "and protect you from stress, negativity, anxiety and depression." Is this true? You'll never know. Our author suggests writing down five things for which you feel grateful every day. You'd be lucky to think of five things every decade. But let's be positive. With so little to be grateful about, you can do your journaling on the back of a postage stamp.

Simple habit No. 3 is "Get good at being rejected." BINGO! Here is one positivity skill you won't have to learn. You've been rejected so frequently, you could teach Rejection 101 at Harvard Business School. (If you hadn't been rejected by Harvard, of course.)

"Replace 'have' with 'get'" is simple habit No.5. Get it? Instead of saying, "I have to go to work and let my moronic boss abuse me," you say, "I get to go to work and let my moronic boss abuse me." Feeling more positive? Didn't think so.

Simple habit No. 6 is "Don't let yourself get dragged into other people's complaints." The science here — and we do love us some science at Fulfillment Daily — was generated at the Warsaw School of Social Psychology, where scientists found that "complaining leads to lower moods and negative emotions, decreased life satisfaction and optimism, and emotional and motivational deficits."

As a walking, talking motivational deficit, you know this to be true, but keep in mind that complaining is the raw ingredient in artisanal office gossip, without which your workday would be even more unbearable than it already is.

The scientists in Warsaw can put that in their borscht and smoke it.

You would think simple habit No. 7 would be a no-brainer. All you have to do is pay attention to your breath. "Our breath changes depending on how we feel," Wycklendt reports, adding, "The great news is that the connection goes the other way, too."

I suppose this represents a real breakthrough in Warsaw, but you've known about the power of breathing since you were 6 years old and threatened your parents with holding your breath until you turned red if they didn't let you watch Rootie Kazootie. Since that worked so well, you might try it with your manager. Go ahead! Threaten to hold your breath until you get another week of vacation. The worst that could happen is that you pass out and get a free ride to the emergency room, sirens blazing.

"Have solutions when pointing out problems" is simple habit No. 9. This means that "instead of pointing out all of the things that are wrong, offer ways to make it better."

I like this habit, especially if the problem is your immediate supervisor, let's say, and your positive solution to this problem is expressed in positive language, like "if you really want to solve all our problems and make everyone in the company happy, all you have to do is drop dead."

By implementing simple habit No. 9, having solutions to problems, you will also implement simple habit No. 10, "Make someone else smile."

"Think about someone else's happiness," Wycklendt writes, "and it will help us realize the immense impact that our attitude and expression has on the people around us."

Can't you just imagine the big smile of your manager's face when he realizes that because you've mouthed off, he can fire you? You've lost a job, true, but you've set yourself up to win millions in a big fat wrongful termination lawsuit.

OK, it's unlikely, but hey, you gotta think positive.

Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He now works out of Bellingham, Washington. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at [email protected] To find out more about Bob Goldman, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.


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