The power of negative thinking – Part One

The inspiration and source for much of these articles comes from the excellent Radio 4 Podcast of the same name which is available to download in its entirety from BBC Sounds.

There are a variety of themes from the Podcast that we will look to draw out, develop and apply to a business context.

Trust yourself

The first element is about trusting your own judgement.

We have any number of phrases relating to this such as gut feel which those of you who have read Simon Sinek’s ‘Start with Why’ will know is based in medical practice (the limbic system) which is why gut feel or your initial response to a person or situation is often the best.

However, over the years we have been encouraged through business gurus, speakers and literature to always be positive, be unconstrained from negative thoughts and adapt a ‘can do’ attitude.

All lofty ideals but what if the gut feel is telling you to exercise caution?

Are all your years of practice & experience added to your inbuilt intuition to be sacrificed on the alter of positivity? I don’t think so.

One phrase that resonated from the Podcast was to adopt “a sense of chronic unease” which in practice means to consider all the things that could possibly go wrong (even when they are going very right) and work through in series how one event that might appear on the face of it trivial for one area of the business may have a profound impact on the other.

My example would be running out of toilet roll, a modest inconvenience at the worst but if this was in a nursing home or hospice, which led to a breach of hygiene standards which then led to vulnerable people needing to be relocated possibly away from family or consultants then you can see how this works.

Now clearly the simple solution is to go and buy some when supplies get low, but this is where we get to.

Harnessing negativity

The power of negative thinking allows us to identify and visualise all the things that could possibly go wrong then put together positive solutions and strategies to manage them.

There is an ancient saying ‘that to master the world one must first master yourself’.  In our context this means listening to your gut feel but then acting clearly and decisively.

Feeling inspired? Explore our blog for more articles on how to get the most out of your business.