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Positive Ways to Deal with Negativity

With the mortgage meltdown, floods in the Midwest, $4 a gallon for gas, food prices, the economy, famine, war in Iraq, etc., many would agree that there is a lot of negativity in the world and certainly a lot to complain about. And yet, while traveling the country this past month, ironically for the No Complaining Rule Tour, I met a number of people who inspired me with the positive ways they were dealing with the negativity in their life. In spite of their circumstances they chose to view their situation with a positive perspective… which so often makes all the difference. Since we all could benefit from their example, here are 5 positive ways to deal with negativity.

1. Find the Gift - Richard Bach said every problem has a gift for you in its hands. One woman came up to me and said that because of the cost of gas her family is driving less and as a result they are spending more time at home and having dinner together more often. She said this “negative” situation has been very “positive” for her family. Another person said he is taking the bus to work instead of driving and as a result he has met a lot of interesting people.

2. Look at the Bright Side - One gentlemen joked that because of the cost of gas he now has a great excuse to not drive and see his negative relatives.

3. Zoom Focus - It doesn’t matter what the pundits say on television. It doesn’t matter what Joe and Sally in your office are doing. It doesn’t matter who is playing office politics. All that matters is what you do every day to grow yourself and your business. Focus on being positive and taking positive action every day. Be like the real estate agent who told me that he doesn’t focus on what the news and newspapers say. He focuses on what he can do every day to be successful. He focuses on marketing his business, taking care of his clients, and building loyal relationships. What things do you need to Zoom Focus on?

4. Focus on the Opportunity Not the Challenge - Behind every innovation and solution is a story about someone who said there has to be a better way. I bet Henry Ford was walking behind a horse when he had the idea for his automobile. History shows us that a lot of people and a lot of companies make a lot of money during recessions. The key is to find the opportunity. Where is the market heading? What do people want and need? What will they want in the future? Now is a great time to build a positive team with great talent. Now is the time to gain market share while so many give up. Now is a great time to determine who is on your bus and who is off your bus. Now is the time to be indispensable to your company and demonstrate how valuable you are.

5. Be a Positive Influence on Others - I received an email from Ruthanne in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She wrote: “As you are probably aware, we were recently hit with a 500 year flood. My neighborhood was impacted the worst and most of our homes, mine included, are a total loss. People tell me I have been the most positive person they know who was directly impacted by the flood. I don’t have a lot of time today (first day back at work in 2 wks) to tell you all the positive things that have been going on in our city and in my life, but I will be writing an article when this is all over with. I did want to say though that I have not complained throughout all the devastating catastrophe because of the knowledge I learned both from your seminar, books and newsletters.”

Ruthanne could have chosen to wallow in self pity and negativity but instead she chose to deal with her negative situation by being a positive influence on others. Think about how many people she is positively impacting in her community. Now think about the positive influence you can have on people at work, in your community and at home.

Every day simply ask yourself “How can I be a positive influence where I am, right now?”

Stay Positive!

©2008, Jon Gordon

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Jon Gordon is a speaker, consultant, and author of the international bestseller The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel your Work, Life and Team with Positive Energy which has inspired readers the world over. His most recent book is called The No Complaining Rule: Positive ways to deal with negativity at work. He and his books have been featured on CNN and on NBC's Today show, and in Forbes, Fast Company, O: The Oprah Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. Clients such as the Jacksonville Jaguars. the PGA Tour, Northwestern Mutual, JPMorgan Chase, and Publix Supermarkets also call all Jon to get their team "on the bus" and moving in the right direction. Jon also impacts thousands of teachers and students each year through his work with schools, universities, and nonprofit organizations. He is a graduate of Cornell University and holds a master's degree in teaching from Emory University. He lives in northeast Florida with his wife and two high-energy children. For more information about Jon, please visit or

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