Is Positivity Holding You Back?

by Shaun R Smith on August 10, 2010

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We’ve all heard and read about the power of positive thinking.

But how does that balance with the fact that people are more motivated to avoid pain than to move towards pleasure?

Growth versus Contentment

I think that the most successful and happy lives are led in the balance of growth and contentment.  If the scale is off balance towards the growth side, you exist in a state of perpetual dissatisfaction.  A few steps further and you’re in misery, hating your life, your family, your business, your team, or some combination thereof.

If your scale is tilted too far on the contentment side, you end up in apathy.  Growth and change are usually uncomfortable.  They require you to push outside of your comfort zone.  I believe forward movement is a key element in people feeling fulfilled with their lives.

Is it better to react from a place of happiness than a place of misery?  The Law of attraction suggests that you get more of what you put out into the universe.  Positive thinking suggests that positive thoughts create positive results.

Motivated by Misery

However when people feel stuck, trapped, or extremely frustrated by their present situation or circumstances, that is often the time that they’re willing to take the massive action required to make a change.  I’ve definitely seen that in my own life.  Some of the biggest and most successful changes I’ve made in my life, or periods of growth I’ve created for myself, have come from extreme dissatisfaction.  While I was confident in my ability to take the new path, and had some idea of where I was going, the dissatisfaction gave me the power and motivation to push through my comfort zone and do what was necessary.

Formula for CHANGE

Which brings us to the formula for change, sometimes called Gleicher’s Formula.

From Wikipedia:

D x V x F > R

Three factors must be present for meaningful organizational change to take place. These factors are:
D = Dissatisfaction with how things are now;
V = Vision of what is possible;
F = First, concrete steps that can be taken towards the vision.

If the product of these three factors is greater than
R = Resistance,

Then change is possible. Because D, V, and F are multiplied, if any one is absent or low, then the product will be low and therefore not capable of overcoming the resistance.

While their application was organizational change, I think the same reasoning can also be applied to you as an individual.

And You?

Maybe you’re not uncomfortable enough in your current situation?  Maybe you’re still too comfortable in your discomfort.  Or maybe you’re absolutely miserable, but lack a vision for what is possible.  Or maybe what you’re lacking are the first steps on this new course.

Are positivity and a rosy vision of the future more important in motivating and affecting actual change?  Or are agitation and misery the key to creating a life of your dreams?  And since life is a journey, how much of it do you have to spend in misery to keep growing effectively?

What you think?  What’s been the most important factor in major positive changes in your life?  Dissatisfaction?  Or vision?

Photo by: Jeremy Mates

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