Positive Versus Negative

This morning, I finished reading How Full Is Your Bucket? and realized I must have read it earlier. The book is not even 100 pages, but makes a very good case for keeping a positive attitude about life. I’m sure that if you asked people who knew me in the past, they would say I had an inconsistent attitude about life, positive at times but negative at others. And if I am honest with myself, I have to confess that was true. I was up as much as I was down, but I think the low points seemed more dramatic to others because they were so different from the high points. Perhaps I was in need of medical treatment, but it is impossible to say now. All I know is that now, in 2011, it feels like my bucket is full. So it is time to start working on filling the buckets of others around me.

The tool I started building months ago can easily be adapted to remind me to do this, but I don’t think that is enough. I need to prime the pump and start today by making a list of people I want to thank for something they did for me, or helped me realize about myself, or helped me understand about others. As I’m doing this on my iPad today, I don’t think I’ll be able to include links to their web sites (if they have them), so I will just make this a list. And in the spirit of the moment, I’ll make it a top 7 List, as the 7 Levels of Change are my favorite starting point for idea generation.

  1. Do the right things – Add a habit to my database reminding me to do the things the book talked about, every day. Keep track of how it makes me feel, and how I perceive other people are feeling about me.
  2. Do things right – Define factors for the new habit that allow me to track the negative as well as the positive things I find myself saying or doing each day. Evaluate all the habits and create a new attribute for them that defines how positive or negative they are. Summarize this new attribute at the Date level, so I have a new measure of how positive or negative the day turns out.
  3. Do things better – Take time at the end of the day to review how things went. Log the positive moments as well as the negative ones. How many times did I add something positive to another person? How many times did I take something away from them?
  4. Do away with things – When there are few weeks of data to establish a baseline, look at where I am spending my time. Am I trying to improve my strengths or minimize my weaknesses? Do my weaknesses deserve any attention at all? Could I avoid dipping into my own bucket if I stopped tracking the negative things entirely? Do I really need to know how much junk food I ate, or would it be better to frame the desired goal (weight loss) in a positive way (avoid junk food today)?
  5. Do things others are doing – What could I learn from others? What resources could I take advantage of if I were aware of them? Do I have strengths I could improve that I don’t recognize yet?
  6. Do things no one is doing – Am I really breaking any new ground here? Who has been this way before? If I’m really a pioneer, how do I mark my path so that others can follow and avoid the detours? Or do I need to let them make their own detours? Is the goal to inspire others to start their own journey, and find their own destinations, rather than encourage them to follow me toward mine?
  7. Do things that can’t be done – Am I really as positive about the future as I say I am? Could I put a stake in the ground and tell the world I want to do something really bold and then stick to that goal? Would sharing my destination with others be good for getting there, or do I risk giving away too many secrets?

Well, this seems to have gone in a completely different direction than I intended. It sounds to me like I need to put up or shut up. I keep talking about wanting to create a company that helps people overcome “status quo addiction” but maybe I need to be my own client. If I can’t share my own fears and doubts about this enterprise I want to create, what chance do I have of helping anyone deal with their fears and doubts. Maybe I need to talk about the tough things that aren’t limited to my business, and see where that goes.

This isn’t something that can be decided on a whim. It needs a little thought and planning. And starting a post in a hotel room on vacation is only a way to ask the question: Do I really want to change the world? The answer will need to come later, and not in a day or a week or even a month. And probably not as blog posts that only a few people read.

Any thoughts on this one? Is it enough to think positive thoughts, or does one need to live a positive life and contribute positive ideas to those around you? I think I’m ready to change gears and get serious. Vacation is over. Back to work.


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