Page 15 - West Virgina 811 Magazine 2020 Issue 3
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to enjoy life during this pandemic, then you may be one of the more positive thinkers with a default position on the right side of the continuum.
If you are asked if you want to be sad or happy, my guess is that you would pick the latter over the former. The fact is negative and positive thinking are mutually exclusive, so we will not be happy thinking ugly thoughts.
Learning Point Number Three: Do you have the necessary self-control
to shut off your internal switch of negative thinking and to turn on your positive one? You do that by directing your thoughts to the more positive characteristics in your life. Remember the cliché: We are what we think about most.
Let’s leave the COVID-19 world for
a moment while I mention a former colleague and dear friend who suffered a devastating stroke 10 years ago that left him partially paralyzed. In the words of Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People, he learned to accept the worst that might happen and enjoy the daily blessings life has to offer.
Let’s look at positive thinking from another perspective. As mentioned, research shows our default position may be a 1:4 ratio of positive to negative thinking with 80% of our thoughts being negative. Barbara Frederickson, in her book, Positivity, introduced
the notion to strive for a 3:1 ratio. To do that, look back to Learning Point Number Three: We become aware of our propensity to think negatively, shut off that switch and turn on our positive switch by thinking about the blessings in our lives.
Learning Point Number Four: Like any other muscle, this psychological muscle becomes stronger with focused practice.
Learning Point Number Five: In paraphrasing the words of a recent politician — the challenge is not simply to win the battle with the COVID-19 virus, but to ensure that this experience teaches us how we can be better and to prevent future viruses from having this enormous impact.
The bottom line is to take advantage of the adverse events in our lives by using
them to become a better person – or nation. Shame on us if we don’t.
Learning Point Number Six: The worldwide pandemic is bringing the world closer together as everyone fights the same enemy. The lessons for all
of us are: 1) the collective intelligence
is smarter than any one individual,
and 2) the degree of cooperation in
the scientific community tells us that collectively we can achieve more than individual nations. It’s just a shame that it takes an emergency to remind us of these basic facts.
In closing this article, you need to know numerous studies have shown positivity leads to improved health, thus longevity, more and closer friendships, improved personal and professional productivity, and positive people make more money.
Now you have it. What are you going to do with it? Your choice.
Larry Cole, Ph.D., is founder of TeamMax a consulting company that helps people work together. Please send questions and/or comments to Larry at
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