Be slow to anger and fast to forgive!!!
"The Ripple Guy", Steve Harper, wrote a blog post this week about the "Tend Toward The Negative". He read the comments on a LinkedIn post about the Apple Watch and discovered that many of those leaving their opinions were nasty toward Apple, the product, and the writer of the article. For those who read comments on anything online, you know that the negative tends to flame out of control pretty fast.
It struck a cord with Harper. He hit his boiling point about people going negative, and jumped into the discussion. He had an interesting conversation with someone who never realized that such mean-spirited comments are linked to their LinkedIn profile forever (oops!). Go read his post on his Ripple Central Blog. (Steve is a really good guy and you will like his blog).
Steve Harper is right. People are quick to go negative on all sorts of issues. They often go down this hateful path without anything more than their opinions (facts? research? nah... just their feelings). It is a trend that has not gotten better because of the growth of social media, but instead the ability to be commenting via computer has exploded the public rant, bitch and hate.
Being nasty is not the best way to build your network. The words you choose and the actions you take are your brand. As Harper pointed out in his article, the comments you leave online are very often linked for your real world contacts to see, and are going to be found at some point in the future. A future job opportunity or new client could vanish because of their seeing a nasty series of comments.
This does not mean you cannot disagree and join in the conversation. One of the greatest positives about social media is the ability to have many voices heard that would otherwise be silent.
Yet disagreeing is not a green light to be mean spirited.
There are ways to share your thoughts while still being respectful toward other people. We can have conflicting points of view (especially on topics like the "Apple Watch", etc...) and not have to make it personal. Individuals tend to assume their own point of view is always correct, and anyone who disagrees is clearly lower down on the intelligence scale. (My own life has gotten better since I realized I am not always right, and that I make mistakes... regularly!).
Another problem is that when people get mad, they mistakenly think they are clairvoyant and assume they know what others are thinking and feeling. Humans are fast to fill in the blanks where facts are missing. Their own interpretations become their reality. This fuels their anger, and exasperates the situation.
We get to choose our attitude in all situations. Sometimes someone or something is going to not fit in with our vision. We can lash out and create a negative scene, or we can seek a different perspective that does not cause our nasty side to come forward. If we need to say something, being mean is not necessary.
The popular song of the 1940s advised that we "Accentuate the positive, eleminate the negative. Latch onto the affirmative, and don't mess with Mr. In-Between". While a bit corny, the song is right. It is a choice we can all make in responding to anything that happens in our lives. When we grab hold of the negative we are more likely to hurt someone and undermine our own future. My dad always told me to be slow to anger and fast to forgive!
Each day I try to find something good that someone else is doing and draw attention to it. I like to highlight some of those things in my own writings (ie: the "Cool Things My Friends Do" blog posts and also the focus of my soon to be released "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do" podcast). Most often I simply compliment someone privately for what they have done that I think is cool. The amazing thing is how many people are blown away by the positive comments. This means it is not happening often enough in the daily lives of people. Our busy schedules can be overwhelming and it is easy when stressed out to see only the dark side. I suggest we seek out the light and go positive.
***(That being said, there is a time and a place for anger and a negative opinion. I am not saying never to speak out when something bad is happening, or the situation is near the top of the scale. But don't make a 3 into a 10 at every turn!!!)
Have A Great Day