Saturday, August 06, 2016

Organisms that are better attuned to bad things

Baumeister pioneered the concept of negativity bias, which refers to the notion that, even when of equal intensity, things of a more negative nature have a greater effect on our psychological state than do neutral or positive things. 

In his groundbreaking study, his team found that the innate predisposition of the psyche was to focus on bad, not good. It’s evolutionarily adaptive. Organisms that are better attuned to bad things are more likely to survive threats and pass along their genes. 

However, the psychologists ultimately concluded that even though bad events may have a stronger impact than a comparable good one, many lives can be happier by virtue of having far mood good than bad. 

And that’s what gave me hope. Because my default response, especially during the creative process, is to pull the whip out and start beating myself up. 

Like many sensitive and critical artsy fartsy types, I have a habit of being too hard on myself. And yet, despite the pull of my negativity bias, I’m learning to err on the side of affirmation. Instead of waving a scornful finger at every misstep, I’m giving myself the recognition I deserve for my efforts. 

Because it’s not about right or wrong, good or bad, winning or losing. Binaries like that chew your guts into knots. 

What matters is that you demonstrate to yourself that you are determined to move forward. What matters is that you appreciate each execution that comes along, not as proof of worth, but as the next installment of your continuing saga. T

That’s the mindset guaranteed to turn your dreams into realities.


When was the last time you congratulated yourself? 

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
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