“I am from good apples and bad decisions.”
This is the last line of a poem my son brought home from school last week. It’s a line he wrote.
The wisdom of children sometimes blows me away.
I laughed when I first read it but the reality is that he’s right. He is from good apples and bad decisions.
So am I.
And so are you.
Because we all have the capacity for good: good judgement, good decisions, good times, good grief 😉 …
But it’s in our “bad” decisions that we learn the most. It’s the decisions that bring us adversity and guilt and shame and regret…that shape us the most.
Humans have this thing called a negativity bias. We learn more from the bad things that happen than we do from good things. And we have a tendency to dwell on them afterward.
It’s what kept our ancestors alive when we were hunter-gatherers.
The trouble is that, in a world where there aren’t any sabre tooth tigers lurking in the shadows, this negativity bias isn’t as useful to us. Negative events can certainly still keep us safe, but dwelling on it doesn’t.
To truly succeed in our current world, we need to shift ourselves quickly into a more positive frame of mind so we can choose our next actions wisely. When we approach our life from a positive mindset, we are more open to solutions, we think more clearly, we make better decisions (and our friends and family enjoy being around us more).
This isn’t ignoring the negative, but rather putting it to good use instead of letting it take us down.
For me as a single parent, developing this skill has been critical. I don’t have another adult in the house to prop me up when negative events bring me down. So I must do it for myself. And truthfully, isn’t it better not to rely on someone else for this anyway?
Here are 3 questions you can ask yourself next time you experience something negative or make a “bad” choice:
- What can I learn from this?
- What benefit (no matter how small) did I get from this?
- What does this inspire me to do now?
Just as good apples make bad decisions now and then, good things can come from bad experiences. It’s all in how you choose to respond.
If negative events and thoughts are keeping you stuck in life, and you’re ready to make changes that lead to greater success, happiness and relationships, check out my small group Mental Fitness program: https://speaknowcoaching.com/mental-fitness. There’s a free 5 minute assessment at the bottom of the page that will tell you about the negative voices in your head that are keeping you from making the most of your one awesome life.