Striking the Balance

If you think positively, does that mean that you shouldn’t pay any attention to things that are negative?

Have you ever listened in on a conversation like this? “People who think positively are OK, but too much of the time they’re out of touch with reality. They’re so busy thinking positively that they ignore the danger signs. The next thing you know they’re in big trouble. When you point out that they could have seen it coming, they don’t like it one little bit. How can you pay attention to both positive and negative things at the same time?”

This is a good question. We know that thinking positively makes us happier, and we want to focus on the achievement of our goals. Then again, we don’t want to walk around with our heads in the clouds, and find ourselves tripping over every “rock in the road” we don’t see. So how do we strike this balance?

Thinking positively does not mean we exclude anything that might be negative. We use our RAS to make sure we are aware of everything that helps us get to our goals. Remember in the message from yesterday, the RAS only lets in information that is of value or threat, as defined by our goals. So if some situation shows up that may delay or derail us on the way to our goals, our RAS makes sure it lets us know. Our job is to make sure we pay attention! We then can evaluate the new information, and make a decision to take, or not take, corrective action. The important piece is making sure we are alert, and we do that by clearly defining our goals.

The same thing is true for organizations, teams, families, any person in any situation. You don’t ignore current reality, but you do keep your focus on a positive future – your eye on the prize.