Saturday, June 2, 2018

Overcoming Negative People

My principal has a quote that he uses a lot...

"Positive people attract positive people, negative people attract negative people.  Negative people who think they are positive and are attracting negative people need to lookin the mirror."

I've spent a lot of time reflecting on the quote this year.  I think that if we want to do our jobs as educators well, we have to go beyond the natural inclinations of negativity and instead we must intentionally opt to pursue positive paths.

As I have chosen the road of positivity, I have found myself continuing to be surrounded by other optimists.  People who see the best in students.  People who are excited to go to school.  People who are excited to spend time with each other.

However, that does not mean I have magically been able to convert all the negative people I am around into positive people.  There are still dwindling pockets of negativity, hiding behind the claim of rationalism that continue to try to hold on to old ways.  They believe that positive people have no sense on reality, or are simply being "fake."

I'd like to offer some tips in overcoming these realms of negativity.

1. Be Positive To Them:  I am sure it seems obvious, but instead of fighting fire with fire.... fight fire with water.  Positivity is life-giving.  A smile or "hello" goes further than you think.  Being positive to them does not mean to always sing of sunshines and rainbows, it means to also show them how you choose positivity in the face of negativity.

2. Be Intentional With Them:  Continue to reach out to them.  Some negative people have never had a consistent positive person in their life, and you could be that person that shows it to them.  Ask them how their day is and actually stop to listen.

3. Invite Them To Things:  Similar to being consistent, invite them to spend time with your positive friend group.  Positivity can be infectious.  Invite them to go out to a restaurant, see a game, come to a potluck.  All these things will give negative people a genuine, authentic opportunity to see positive people.

4. Challenge Them:  I do not think it is out of the question to call negativity in to question.  Gently ask them about why they would make a certain negative comment.  Challenge their negative view of something with all the positive things you see.  It has taken me a long time to get to this point, but I have found that more often than not that the darkness is vastly outweighed by the light!

5. Leave:  This is a tough one.  Sometimes you simply need to walk away from the person. If your car breaks, you'll take it to the mechanic, but if you have to take it to the mechanic every month, eventually you are going to sell it.  If a negative person refuses to change their ways, they are going to weigh you down.  They are going to break your transmission and engine of positivity.  They are going to take away one of the most powerful tools you have to reach your students.  You simply cannot allow that to happen.  Since you are a positive person, it will hurt.  However, you will find other positive people to help you get through this challenge.

These are some of my tips.  Hopefully you'll find them useful.  Remember, it is a temptation to be negative because it is originally easier.  Our students deserve better.  Choose positivity.  As you continue to choose positivity you will find it becomes easier option when faced with future challenges.

1 comment:

  1. This is great stuff, Phil. I always enjoy getting inside your thinking and trying it on. Mark