HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED why your coworkers
complain so much? Or why you find fault with people so easily?
Or why you watch the news even though its depressing? Why?
Our species evolved during the Ice Age
(the Pleistocene epoch). In the last one or two million years,
there have been four glaciations four times when the ice
advanced southward for a hundred thousand years or so, and then
receded, changing the climate dramatically again and again. These
ice invasions caused the extinction of many animals. But not
humans. Our species lived through the harsh and radically-changing
weather, famines, floods, fires, plagues, and the threat of deadly
carnivorous animals walking around hungry. Lots of people died.
Natural selection had a field day.
Lets speculate for a moment. During
dangerous times, what kind of human do you suppose would evolve?
Would a happy-go-lucky, everything-is-groovy attitude help one
survive? I dont think so. Under those conditions, the best
survivors would be those who compulsively noticed what was wrong
and were constantly on the lookout for possible danger. In other
words, conditions would have selected for a critical, negative,
worry-wort. A relaxed, easygoing positive thinker probably wouldnt
last one winter. Those people who survived are our ancestors,
so those traits are built into our brains and hormonal systems.
It is completely natural to notice whats
wrong, what doesnt work, and what you dont like.
Its somewhat unnatural to see whats good, whats
going well, and what you like and appreciate. But its also
unnatural to be toilet-trained. Its unnatural to have good
manners. Its unnatural to delay gratification. What comes
naturally (like being negative) is not necessarily best. It might
have been absolutely essential for survival a hundred thousand
years ago, but times have changed.
Luckily, we are capable of doing things
we dont naturally do if we know its in our
best interest and if we firmly and definitely make up our minds
to do so. One of the greatest talents of our species is that
were capable of doing what we dont naturally do.
You can learn to notice whats going
well. It takes a deliberate, conscious effort. Itll probably
never come naturally (that is, without thinking about it). No
matter how many years you make that conscious effort, whenever
you look around, chances are the first thing youll see
is whats wrong. And thats perfectly okay. Its
useful to be able to see what needs fixing. But it also helps
to notice the good stuff.
Today, deliberately notice something you
like about the company you work for and tell somebody. Then take
a good look at your coworkers and find something you honestly
appreciate about someone and tell that person you appreciate
it. Then talk about someone behind her back talk about
what you admire and respect about her. Make this effort a couple
of times a day and your relationships will work better. Youll
also be in a good mood more often.
Set a goal at the beginning of the day.
How many sincere acknowledgments will you give today? Dont
make your goal too big you have work to do too. But create
some way of keeping track. For example, you could put five pennies
in your left pocket and every time you make a good acknowledgment,
move one penny to your right pocket. Try to move all of them
Make a regular practice of this and the
atmosphere where you work will change. The people around you
will feel more noticed and appreciated and liked. And they will
treat you with more appreciation in return. All you need to do
is commit some unnatural acts.
Notice something you appreciate
and tell someone.