In my experience, you’ve got to keep a positive outlook, or you’ll lose everything you’re working for.
Motivational speakers = snake oil salesmen, right?
We’ve all scrolled down on Facebook and seen the great speeches, the infographics, and the emotional appeals that accompany everyday social media. Most people share articles without actually reading them themselves, research has shown (proven by stories I have yet to read here, here, and here).
Whether it’s Tony Robbins, some story about a dog rescuing someone, or something else, we all know we don’t really have much control over what our friends choose to share, and most of it is not really that important, anyway. However, it seems like much of the viral content out there has to do with positivity and motivation.
We know social media usually doesn’t have the power to actually change anyone. But at the same time, why is it that so much of the material posted has to do with simply keeping a positive perspective?
We’ve all got plenty to do; does it matter if we’re “positive” about it all?
To cut to the chase, it matters. It matters, because it does. That’s about as much as anybody knows. We know that people who have a negative outlook end up doing less, because they are convinced that their efforts will end up failing. But we also know that a positive outlook doesn’t guarantee success. It’ll always be a bit mysterious, but one thing is for sure: just about everyone who believes they’ll fail ends up failing. Meanwhile, some of the people who believe they’ll succeed actually make it.
When you work with people, you can’t lose your grip on reality. But perhaps even more important, you can’t lose your grip on possibility.
I think we are wired this way, as human beings, because of our longing for redemption. We know that the world is broken; we know that somewhere inside, we’re broken too, and our greatest desire is to see that brokenness fixed somehow. If we can get our minds around that, it seems to me that we start to look for the possibility in people, instead of focusing on the negative.
Progress, both in my world and in the business world, is often slow. I’m told that five percent annual growth, for an entrepreneur, is great success. At that rate, the size of one’s business doubles in 20 years. Perhaps that’s the best way to see a parallel between charity work and the for-profit world.
- At every step, at every turn, we’ve got to see the God-given potential in people with whom we work. Otherwise, we would surely quit — people change incredibly slowly!
- We believe that setbacks are opportunities for growth, because if we didn’t, we’d surely close up shop and leave.
- And we’ve got to see the value in deepening relationships; because change that doesn’t have a deep foundation won’t last.
So, there are some reasons why we tend to gravitate to all of those posts about positivity and motivation. A positive outlook is what keeps us going forward, and what keeps us looking inward and upward.
Grace and peace.