By Steve Moran

I am going to confess . . . no not that . . . going negative is not my default.

But here’s my confession on occasion, I get sucked into stupid, often politically oriented discussions on Facebook and LinkedIn. I actually don’t get that excited about people taking a political position left or right or one that is different than mine, because I believe we are all doing the best we can and that we come from different perspectives that inform our political and religious leanings.

What Drives Me Crazy

There are two things that drive me crazy . . . and occasionally sucks me in:

  1. People who take a particular position and then go mean and demeaning to everyone who has a different position. This article is not about that.
  2. When someone posts what is just a nice story and others find a way to tear it down. Here is what got me going today:

Positivity is a choice we make. We seem to have fallen into a trap of resorting to the negative and the cynical. It is a trend that is corrosive to society and needs to be reversed. Choosing to go against that tide is leadership. It has never been more essential.

John Cochrane, President & CEO, HumanGood

I like to believe I am a calm and judicious person – but with the quick-fire responses that the use of texting, emailing, and now social media have prompted, I find that I have to at times remind myself and our teams: we don’t have to respond in Nanoseconds. Because that first “knee-jerk reaction” can come off as defensive and perceived as negative or combative.

Instead, I do try to breathe and think about putting myself in the other person’s shoes. At times this can be difficult when dealing with an unpleasant or uncooperative waiter/ress or airline assistant — but I always try to slow down, ask the person’s name and remember that this could very easily be me, or one of our co-workers at our communities working with a frustrated resident or family member and how I would want them to try to work through a problem with us. That helps right my knee-jerk, but I’m not perfect, and certainly a work in progress.

Sevy Petras, Priority Life Care

From the post:

“This is my legit flight from San Antonio to Dallas on Friday night. Myself and 3 flight attendants flew with basically an empty plane. In an era where companies are doing everything to save a buck . . . Southwest held firm to their commitment to get me home and did not cancel to save money or inconvenience me. This is just one of the many reasons I fly #southwestairlines”

In fairness, most people responded with positive comments, and a lot of them just had fun with the post . . .

  • The real question is, were you able to get an A boarding pass and the exit row?!
  • Did they still make you line up at A-16?
  • Did you get to run up and down the isles? And did you get unlimited pretzels?
  • Awesome, I hope they bumped you to first-class ??

We can choose to see the glass half full or half empty. We can choose to have a positive outlook and move forward through any obstacle. We can choose to be kind and supportive. What we can not do and should never ever do — make someone feel less or belittled because they do not share our views and opinions!

Faith Ott, Sage Age Strategies

The first negative post was that a lighthearted story like this was completely inappropriate with the COVID-19 pandemic pending. There were also several people who found themselves compelled to go negative. They were complaining about how this flight, for just one passenger, was completely environmentally unfriendly. So ultimately the criticism was of Southwest Airlines and not the poster.

Sadly we are in a climate in our culture where we feel we need to respond to everything, and it’s easy to go negative. The only way that will change is for each person to take personal responsibility to live in the positive and find the good in others. Let’s celebrate that, it’s a lot more enjoyable!

Chip Gabriel, Generations LLC

Some Things to Think About

I would be willing to bet that if this were just about customer service, the flight would not have flown. My guess is that they needed the airplane and or the crew (more likely the airplane) for another flight in Dallas. In reality, flying empty or nearly empty airplanes even short distances is not something the airline likes to do.

That short flight likely cost SWA five to seven thousand dollars, something they would not do any more often than they had to.

What was even more humorous to me was how easy it was to look at the trolls’ LinkedIn profiles and find other cases where they were supporting or a part of organizations that were way more wasteful with regard to the environment.

I try not to read the comments in most posts for that very reason. Trolling is petty and cowardly (have you noticed how few trolls have photos of themselves on the profile?) and life’s too short to bother with such nonsense. IMHO.

John Collyns, Retirement Villages Association

We All Have Defaults

Today, we have a hypercharged toxic negative environment which makes it so easy to be negative and critical of others. The internet allows us to say horrible nasty things to people who we don’t know and have never met. On top of that, we all have defaults and some are very helpful to us as well as others, but others are self-destructive and harmful to others.

This is simply a powerful lesson/reminder that we need to guard against our defaults that don’t serve ourselves or others well. It is exactly at these moments that we can make a profound positive impact on our friends, or teams and honestly make the world a little better place.

This topic goes back to one of the old, yet still relevant golden rules: ‘if you can’t say something nice about someone, then don’t say anything at all.’ The era of social media seems to have issued licenses to its participants that permits, in many minds, the right to express any and all reactions to what is shared online by others, regardless of the intensity or emotion associated with that reaction, whether it may be deemed ‘appropriate’ or not by community standards. Everyone has a voice and for some, seeing their reactions online is like getting that participation trophy, no matter the quality of their performance. 

Criticism, when intended to aid and assist, can be a positive influence. Expressed spite and ill will do not contribute to the betterment of things. We can all do better to support and encourage, to lift up and recognize goodness when it is encountered either by others or by ourselves. This is a state of mind that is a choice. How we express ourselves is a choice. How we react to others is a choice. Our expressed choices become a direct reflection of ourselves. We should then ask ourselves, do you like what you see in that mirror?

Mark Anderson, Eldermark Software