Marcial Losado is an organizational psychologist that has developed this idea (known as the Losado Ratio) that we need at least 2.9 positive feedbacks for every negative feedback in order to create a positive feedback loop. Losado's studies have found that we need a negative feedback loop in order to survive, as it helps correct our path when we get off course, and without these corrections, we will make the same mistakes over and over again.
However, if we want to do more than survive, if we want to THRIVE, we need a 3/1 positivity ratio. This holds true for businesses, families, classrooms, and relationships.
We have control over this ratio in a couple of different ways. There is a study that suggests that about 80% of our 50-70 thousand daily thoughts are negative. So one thing that we can do is to make a concerted effort to fill ourselves up with positives, so that we can battle the inherent negatives that exist inside of us. I've written before about the power of positive affirmations, either written or spoken, that we can use to reframe our thinking. And truly, they can be very powerful. They certainly have been in my life.
The other thing that we can do, is to refocus our efforts on increasing our positivity ratio in our interactions at work, at home, and in our relationships. It doesn't mean we are soft on our kids that we don't hold our employees to a high standard, or correct them when they are doing wrong. It does mean that we spend more of our energy praising what is right than searching for what is wrong.
There are always exceptions, and times when no amount of positive will turn someone's performance or behavior around.
However, I think we hide behind the easy "certainties" of these exceptions far too often and don't give the weight of positive reinforcement the power and consideration that it deserves.
I know I fail at this often with my daughter. I find myself treating my 7 year old like she is 27, like she should just "know" better, because she has been walking and talking for a little over 5 years, she should know exactly how to behave, and she should display respect and exhibit self-control, because 7 years is clearly enough time for her to have learned those things. So I'm too often critical and demanding, rather than telling her that she is funny, or smart, or reminding her that I enjoy her company. Many times, my positivity ratio is off.
It's easy to do that with my students as well. There are about 25 of them, so most of the time, it's very easy to catch them doing something "wrong". There are 25 5th graders in the room, there is a 100% chance that at least one of them is doing something they shouldn't be at any given time, and it's very easy for me to find that one, rather than searching for positives.
It doesn't mean you are soft, it means you care. It doesn't make you weak, it makes you wise.
Look for the positives. 3:1
**The inspiration and story from this post comes from Mark Batterson's book, If.**