Last week, I traveled for a conference I’d been to a few times. The conference itself was way better than previous years. I was treated to many significant pearls of wisdom which I attached to simple – very actionable – takeaways.
Throughout the week, I ran into great friends, new people, and kind-of knew people who I got to reconnect with. The connections allowed me to talk – and in doing so, clarify in my mind – a host of different facets of my life.
The experience of this trip should have been amazing start to finish!
Negative bias played a huge part in continuing our species… but is it now doing more harm than good?
A few days into the trip, I received some bad news by phone. This one piece of bad news tainted – actually overwhelmed – my thoughts. I became fixated on this one. bad. thing. It overshadowed ALL the good things. It overshadowed the content. It overshadowed the people. It even overshadowed a bucket-list item I was planning – actually to the point where I decided not to plan it at all.
One bad thing.
In a sea of amazing experience.
In a sea of hugely positive potential!
Maybe, at this point, I should add: The news itself was benign. It was really the potential of what could happen that threw me off.
You know, the potential negative that could happen.
The one potential negative.
… in that sea of actual positives.
That, my friends, is negative bias. And it kept humans alive for a long time.
Negative bias no longer keeps us alive. It ruins our experience.
…if we let it.
When you find yourself focussing on one negative and you’re letting it ruin all your positives – because there are SO many positives – ask yourself these four simple questions:
- Is this a potential negative or an actual negative? If it’s an actual problem, the damage is done and you need to focus on how to move forward; focusing on what happened will just ruin your current experience.
- What is the worst case scenario? Go big here! Find the meteor-crashing-into-the-Earth scenario that could happen.
- What is the possibility of that worst case scenario? In most cases, the worst case scenario is far-fetched and approaches zero on the possibility scale.
- Is there ANY positive in that scenario? If a meteor hits the Earth, it might just land on something making your job difficult. Go ahead and let the positive be as humorous as you want.
Taking a couple minutes to review these four questions can help eliminate the stress and anxiety around potential negative events – circumventing our negative bias and refocussing on our present experience.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease.