I’ve realized something in the past few years, but haven’t spoken out about it, until now…  With the growth of the internet and social media, it’s become easier and easier for people to anonymously post critiques.  Now, that’s not news in itself.  Plenty of stories have been published about this phenomenon, but have you noticed how it’s effected everyday life, too?

So, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many different kinds of people from different walks of life.  I’ve had this happen before, but I’m experiencing it more and more these days as I work in a field that partners teams up to complete projects, which is different than my previous experiences working with individuals who work independently to complete their own project.  As I’m working with these different teams, I hear more and more negativity sprouting from them ALL DAY LONG!  It really affects my work mood and is not what I want to be around to work more productively.

Here’s what I’ve heard on a daily basis lately…  Criticisms of anyone doing something differently than the way “you” would do it.  (Driving faster or slower than you on the road, approaching a task differently than you would – even though the outcome is the same, etc.)  Criticisms of bosses that don’t communicate with you often enough, or too often, or not in the way that you’d prefer.  Perhaps, criticizing a boss just because they finally called you on the crud you try to pull to get out of work.  And, while I appreciate sports fans getting excited about an upcoming competition, criticizing professional athletes or coaches on how they do a job that you are in NO WAY qualified to do, just doesn’t help anyone!

Finally, when in charge of my own crew, I addressed this negativity by stating I’d like my work place to be a “Negativity Free Zone”.  I’m not trying to say I was “triggered” or hurt by any of this, but it really doesn’t serve any productive purpose.  I challenged my crew to think about this one simple question:  How did that complaint/criticism help the day or the situation?

I understand people need to vent about stressful situations, but:

  1. This isn’t venting as much as just complaining.
  2. Co-workers are not the right people to vent or complain to, especially during work hours.

This mentality seems pretty selfish or self-centered to me.  Berating others because their different or they handled something in a way you don’t appreciate really isn’t going to change anything, except for perhaps the way others see you.

As someone who fell in love with teaching from a young age, I was pretty much raised with a servant leadership mentality.  I think about others – what they might need/want, or possibly what caused them to take that action.  I’m not saying I’ve always been great at this, but it really has expanded as I’ve aged and matured through living my own experiences.  Now days, I approach someone cutting me off on the road with a different view than I did 20 years ago.

My favorite tv or radio programs don’t always just slant one way on every issue.  My favorites allow the viewer/listener to see/hear both sides of the issue.  At Ninja Fit, I ask my students to think about others from day one.  When reviewing the tenets we live by, I challenge the students to think about them on a daily basis & bring back a story about how they’ve shown their assigned tenet within the past week.  I ask that same thing from you as a reader, whether a student of martial arts or not…  Examine your daily interactions with people and see if there might be improvement in your own attitude.  You may be surprised how a small change in freeing yourself from negativity may affect those around you.  Maybe we CAN make this world a better place, one person at a time.