Winning The Battle Against Negativity

A cheerful and grateful leader—a leader who does not dwell on what they don’t have—will inspire a team and a family to overcome disappointment and press forward.


We love to complain about our spouses. All of us do it. Even this guy—the one who writes books and blogs on Positivity—does it. In 2017, I was right in the middle of a group of friends. I rolled my eyes and was one-upping my friends with stories about how my wife annoyed me that week. Every Thursday morning, a group of us got together for friendship, advice, prayer and Bible study. Unfortunately, our recent Thursdays had grown negative. Until somebody made a simple suggestion.


“Why don’t we spend some time discussing what we are thankful for in our lives instead of what we wish we had?” The group went silent. But, we each knew our friend was right. We had gone too far. We had digressed from venting to whining. Venting can be healthy. Just like a pressure cooker, we all need to periodically let off steam in appropriate channels with people who will provide feedback, guidance and support. The problem is too many of us think venting is a continuous process. When we go from one person to another and vent—day-after-day and week-after-week—about the same things, it is not venting. It is whining.


Our group came up with a plan to battle against our negativity. We decided each day we would wake up and write down three things we were thankful for in our lives. But, we took it a step further. We decided we could not repeat something we had written down in the past. In other words, we could only say “I’m thankful for my spouse” one time. The next day, we would need to be more specific. “I’m thankful my spouse picked up the kids from soccer practice for me yesterday.” Each day, this forced us to begin our day thinking of all the things we had been blessed with instead of the things we wish we had. It forced us to recognize everything we had been given instead of what we felt we were missing.


As I write this, we are approaching three years of thankfulness. Daily, everyone in our group has written out three things they are thankful for receiving. This totals to over 1,000 different reminders of what we have to be thankful for each year! We each believe this exercise has changed our attitudes towards our lives. We recognize all we have. We value the contributions of others to our lives. And, we spend less time whining about what we think we are missing.


Thankfulness is a great weapon to utilize if you battle negativity. A cheerful and grateful leader—a leader who does not dwell on what they don’t have—will inspire a team and family to overcome disappointment and press forward. When we exercise thankfulness, we become the Leaders of Character both our work and families need.


Dig Deep Questions:


  • Why do you think people move from venting to whining?

  • What are the long-term effects of their influence on others?

  • What are three things are you thankful for today?

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