How can some people be so negative? How do they justify being negative and criticising? The person in the grocery line is taking too much time paying… The driver in front of me is driving at 60KPM in a 60KPM zone – but I feel inconvenienced! Even the person who gives me a compliment adds a little negative sting – “That’s a nice shirt Dennis. Why don’t you get a size that fits you?”

“Oh Dennis, it’s human nature to do that” is the response I hear! Is it? And if so, why? Wouldn’t our relationships, families, businesses and world be a better place if we were more positive and constructive in our communication, mindset and behaviour?

Maybe it’s something to do with the cold of winter, but I have really noticed the number of negative comments I hear out of people, the traffic, our civil leaders and so on.

Can we all try to be more positive? And as always, any form of change starts with the individual – me.

To help people be more positive in their communication, I have developed the Den indicator (based on Zen) that requires you to ask the question – does it matter? It will assist people to consider the impact of their thoughts and actions on their life experiences.

My Den indicator is an equation of “Positive perceptions/experiences (10) minus the negative perceptions/experiences (scale of 1-10).” An example. That driver who cut into your traffic lane and caused you the to brake suddenly – where does it rate on the Den scale? Does the potential danger of having to brake suddenly (the negative) outweigh the joy you have of driving your car on a sunny day listening to your favourite music (the positive)? Stop and imagine where the rating truly sits on the scale of a minor inconvenience to catastrophic experiences…If the rating is 5 or below, it’s a negative experience and needs to be seen rationally for what it is. If, however, the rating is above a 5 then don’t worry about it, let it go and enjoy being positive.

The Den indicator helps you identify the experience in perspective and then encourages you to not sweat the small stuff.

Another technique I find works well is to always assume a positive intent. I don’t think there are many people (there are some but a minority) that deliberately go out with negative intent in their actions. So, assume that people have the right intentions and work from there. Don’t let a minority influence the way you deal with the majority.

Of course, while they may have the right intentions, their behaviours/actions may cause you some grief. In such cases, focus on the behaviour. Find out or imagine possibilities behind the reasons for the behaviour and their intent. A simple conversation can result in an extremely positive interaction or coming from a place of ‘benefit of the doubt’ can eliminate your negative emotions. ‘Maybe that car cut me off because they didn’t notice due to having a really bad day or need to get somewhere really important’.

Most people in my experience are trying their best. Yes, it may not come across that way but I believe most people are trying to do the right thing with the resources and experiences they have had and in the context they are operating in.

If we come from a position of love and positivity, we will end in a position of love and positivity. If we start from a position of negativity, we can only end in negativity; and possibly in even worse states of anger and bitterness which will only reduce your wellbeing. Feel the love and slay the negativity demon.