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I am positively convinced we need more positivity in our lives. Do you agree?
In a 24/7/365 news cycle, it’s tough to escape today’s torrent of negativity — the Carnival sideshow masquerading as the U.S. presidential election … racial tensions rising to 1960s levels … a handful of cops going too far … homegrown terrorism … negative jobs reports … an economy some say is growing and others say is shrinking.
Yikes, I want to go back to bed!
One need only turn on television news, pick up a magazine, roam the radio dial, read a newspaper, or scroll through your overnight social media notifications to realize, as Don Henley sang, “This is the end of the innocence”.
Can we get a do-over, please?
Negativity has even crept into what’s heretofore been known as “a gentleman’s game”.
On the eve of the recent Ryder Cup Matches – America vs. Europe over three days at famed Hazeltine National Golf Club – the brother of the reigning Masters champion and member of the European team, let loose a stream of vitriol towards Americans in a magazine article, laying a world of hurt and embarrassment on his brother Danny Willett, England’s top golfer.
A red-faced Willett took exception to his brother’s remarks, apologized to U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love, III, and promptly went 0-3 in his matches as the Yanks bested my Europeans 17-11. If Peter Willett’s article was intended to be a fire-‘em-up, pre-match pep talk … it failed miserably.
We are most certainly witnessing the demise of positivity … or are we?
I saw on social media last week that well-known Texas super-preacher Joel Osteen released his most recent book, Think Better, Live Better – A Victorious Life Begins in Your Mind, putting forth the notion that erasing negative thoughts and replacing them with positive thinking will allow you to live a more satisfying, prosperous life.
Madison Avenue and Corporate America also seem to have taken notice and are taking action.
Two century-old U.S. corporate giants – Chevrolet and IBM – teamed up to promote Chevy’s Find New Roads global campaign by calling people’s attention to their own positivity (or lack thereof) in social media postings.
The two companies launched a global digital campaign last month – one day after “International Day of Positive Thinking” on September 13th – that allows participants to obtain a positivity score based on their social media posts; specifically, their Tweets and their Facebook postings. (I promise to share the link with you.)
Users are asked to enter the positivity site via their Twitter or Facebook accounts. Within 20 seconds, IBM’s super-computer “Watson” uses natural language processing and machine learning to analyze an individual’s social media posts then spits out a score.
This activity is different than the fun-but-silly Buzzfeed quizzes that pop up on your Facebook page (i.e., What state should you live in? … What Harry Potter character are you? … What ’80s tune is your theme song?) It’s not elementary, my dear Watson. There’s actually some back-end, algorithmic (if that’s not a word, I just made one up!), analytical thingy that does seem to have some legitimacy to it.
Watson not only reads the words but interprets them contextually, providing a surprisingly detailed personality snapshot and scoring individuals on a 0-200 scale with 112 being the current rolling average. (The average score fluctuates up or down as more people visit the site.) It also identifies each person’s most positive — and least positive — posts, as well as their most frequently used positive words and Emojis.
It’s really quite intriguing!
But more importantly, Watson’s scoring and feedback gives you pause and allows you to take a fresh look at the “you” you’re sharing with the world on social media. Are you a grumbling, grouchy malcontent or do you skew more Little Mary Sunshine? Granted, we can’t bury our Pollyanna heads in the sand and ignore today’s realities but maybe we can do our own individual parts and quit contributing to global whining and negativity.
And remember, negativity, flipped, is simply an absence of positivity.
Every day, we have the opportunity to make a conscious decision to be happy and positive (regardless of the curveball today tosses your way) … or we can choose to view the world as broken, hopeless and negative. What we choose is what we share with others. And what we share can be contagious.
So you see, changing the world for the better one positive thought at a time is a responsibility we can all own. And if you think it’s impossible to commit to positive thinking and face the world each day in a positive way, remember the word “impossible” really means “I’m possible”.
September 13th each year is “International Day of Positive Thinking”. My question is: Why isn’t this everyday? Think about it.
Being positive or being negative is a conscious choice made daily. Your outlook begins with a single thought which leads to an action which leads to positive benefits or negative consequences which affect the world. Choose to be positive. It’s that simple: Choose to be positive.
P.S. – True confessions: I scored 141 (Whew!) on the Chevy Global Positivity System, and was told my five most positive words used in social media posts were: great, enjoying, fun, love, and beautiful. Watson also said my top three personality traits are: outgoing, sociable, and altruistic. I like this Watson guy!
To discover your level of positivity, click the link: http://www.findnewroads.com/, enter the site, and give the results some thought. You might just discover something very important about yourself. And maybe you, too, can help change the world one positive thought at a time. Commit to positive thinking!