Sunday—Have A Pessimistic Week!

Are you a strategic optimist or a defensive pessimist?

Maple trees in our front yard_Fall 2012 _ photo by damp
"By imagining the worst-case scenario, defensive pessimists motivate themselves to prepare more and try harder."   -- Psychologist, Julie Norem—The Positive Power of Negative Thinking

Check out this great article by Wharton professor and organizational psychologist, Adam Grant.   

Click HERE to read the entire article

The Power of Negative Thinking  

1.  Don't whistle while you work!
Positive mood impairs the performance of defensive pessimists.  Pessimists work best when their expectations are so low that they are compelled to take action.  It's the opposite of looking through rose-colored glasses.  

2.  Encouragement discourages.   
Too much praise squashes the natural motivation of a defensive pessimist.  Identifying what's wrong is exactly the kind of feedback that a defensive pessimist wants and needs in order to deconstruct the problem.  Break it down, don't build it up.  

3.  Don't worry, be hapless
Distractions are often prescribed as an effective remedy to anxiety.  Take a walk, read a book, go to a movie, basically get your mind off of your troubles.  To a defensive pessimist, anxiety fuels the drive toward success.  Worrying helps motivate defensive pessimists to do their best work.

4.  Save fantasies for the silver screen
A degree of uncertainty helps a defensive pessimist rally to the cause.  "Can I do it?" is a much more powerful approach than "I will!"

Bottom line
For the defensive pessimist, negative thinking transforms anxiety into action.  The conditions that motivate a defensive pessimist toward action are often the opposite of those that motivate strategic optimists.

Success is not a matter of positive or negative thinking.  It is a matter of choosing strategies that match individual thinking styles.  The irony is that defensive pessimists and strategic optimists both want the same result.  They just have entirely different ways of approaching and solving problems.

Have a negative &/or positive week!  

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