High-Five’s, So-So’s, and Hand Grenades

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“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.” – Zig Ziglar

You may not know this about me if you haven’t directly met me in-person or somehow absorbed it through my writing – I’m a very positive person.

You know – the never-has-a-bad-day, always-smiling, almost-annoying type that high-fives people when they walk into the room. Yeah, that guy. I absolutely hate negativity for one simple reason: it doesn’t improve the situation one bit. That’s why I resonate so well with the quote above from Zig. In short, your attitude is the single most important factor for your success.

In fact, when I left my previous job (where I spent six wonderful years) at the University of Florida, I had everyone write one word that reminded them of me on a mug that I would proudly use for coffee every morning. It would also serve as a reminder of the fine individuals that I had the opportunity of working with. Well, as fate and lackluster Starbucks products would have it, all of those words washed off, but I can distinctly remember the words (and you’ll have to trust me) that individuals had careful scribbled all over the mug: high-five, positive, upbeat, happy.

I was so proud that I carried around that sort of stigma – that air of encouragement and positive thinking.

The way I see it, there are three different types of people in this world:

  • The high-fives: These are the people that fire you up when you pass them in the hallway. They act like they drank a pot of coffee (probably did) in the morning before heading to work, and it even seems (or they fake like) they actually like their job! Absurdity at it’s finest.
  • So-So’s: They seem to have no emotion whatsoever. You walk past them in the hallway and ask how they are doing to which they mutter the proverbial “Fine. You?” It’s almost as if they have a forced response to a general question rather than answering honestly and considering their true feelings.
  • The Hand Grenades: They want everyone to know exactly how bad their life is at the current moment including all of the struggles, trials, and tribulations. When you come across one of these guys or gals, you know it because you’re instantly sorry that you asked.

Don’t be either of the last two.

Your job is to help elevate everyone else around you, not bring them down. Inject enthusiasm into everyone around you, and you’ll constantly be mystified with what can get accomplished.

Here are five tactics that I use on a daily basis if need be:

  1. Smile. Just forming a smile on your face will instantly uplift your mood.
  2. Read or watch something funny. Lately, my go-to resource has been 27bslash6.com by David Thorne – a hilarious Australian humorist. A quick read through one of his e-mail threads will leave you in a better mode instantly. If you absolutely need some “kick in the ass” quotes, I’ve got you covered.
  3. Get outside. Go hang out in the sun or play some kind of game. Better yet, just people watch and let your mind wander away from whatever is pissing you off. Make up funny conversations that you would imagine other people having. Laugh to yourself and remember not to take life so seriously.
  4. Play with a dog. Have you ever seen a dog that wasn’t excited as hell to be alive? Didn’t think so.
  5. Reflect. This can be a tricky tactic as it might throw you into a new-found rage as you continue to brood about frustrating situations. If you can let your mind wander to that one time you did that stupid thing and danced on the table at that one bar while all your friends laughed and sang “Pour Some Sugar on Me” at the top of their lungs, you’ll be good to go afterwards.

Those are just five tools that I use to stay positive even in the face of negative situations. The key thing to remember is you’re either lifting others up or bringing them down.

Think for a moment about the last day at your particular office. Imagine passing around a coffee mug (I wouldn’t recommend Starbucks). What would people write? Would they have to force their hand to write something positive or would they have a hard time boiling down your encouraging personality into one word?

Every action, every response you make forms an opinion in the mind of others. Don’t be a hand grenade.

How do you work to stay positive even in negative situations? Do you prefer high-fives or fist bumps for triumphs? Or do you just resort to high-flying chest bumps?

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