We’re trained from a young age to be problem solvers. This is broken, how can we fix it? What’s the answer to this riddle? Where does this piece of the puzzle go? As we grow older the questions adapt, but the heart remains the same. How can I do this faster? Cheaper? What are the weaknesses I need to fix in myself? Where does this person need to improve? What’s wrong with this picture? What problem needs our attention?
I don’t want to say that this is a bad thing, but I do think we have a tendency to go too far. We are taught to look for the flaws so that we can fix the issue. But sometimes we can get so good at seeing flaws that we see flaws before anything else.
This is a GREAT skillset to have if you’re in quality assurance, counterfeit detection, or the interrogation scene. But for the leader in each of us, it may not serve us best. Followers want to be inspired, not corrected; coached, not made wrong; taught, not fixed. The crazy thing is that you might not even realize how negative you can be. It will seem pragmatic and realistic to you, but it will wear down the people around you.
So what should we do instead? Ignore the flaws? Stop pursuing innovation and advancement? No way! But instead of focusing on the negative aspects, focus on the positive ones. Seek advancement by dreaming of what could and should be. What could be made? How can we amplify the strengths? The driving force is more powerful when it is about achieving the new victory and exploring what’s possible, rather than fixing the problem.
And that’s only half of it. Look around you. What’s working really well? Who or what makes your life easier? Celebrate those things and people. You see, turning away from the negative is half the work, but in order to truly change your outlook, turn toward the positive. And even though it might seem daunting, finding and celebrating the good is actually quite easy.
Alright, time for action. Start by asking your spouse, significant others, or kids what the best part of their day was, and share the best part of your day. Make a list each day of what you’re grateful for. Ask your team, “What could be even better?” “What’s possible from here?” “What’s good about the challenge we’re dealing with?”
Remind yourself of the good things in your life, and suddenly your life will start looking brighter.