Monday, 21 July 2014

Negativity and YOU

As part of my role as a Team Manager for the business I work for, I take it upon myself to keep fairly up to date with technology, opinions and business shifts and innovations that get reported on within the media. 

Subtle shifts in thinking and changes in forecasts can have fairly large impacts nationally and globally for the products we deal with such as Fibre, Broadband, phone lines, power, gas etc

One of the favourite sites I utilise to do this is our local New Zealand based site; as it has just the right mix of depth and reasonably accurate reporting both nationally and globally that I find helpful and I like. Bit of humour in there doesn't go astray either. 

So this morning I opened up this little beauty; 
and for a change, I found myself getting just a little bit annoyed, along with a few of my fellow Kiwi's (*slang term for a New Zealander) as you'll be able to see via the comments section below the article. 

You might be shaking your head going "so?" since this is about Politics, but stay with me. 
I'm not a fan of politics either but I still have a point to make.

Now, if you're not a New Zealander, then odds are you'll need a bit of a back story for this to make senseDavid Cunliffe is the current leader of the opposition, the Labour Party. The National Party is currently in power, led by John Key, our Prime Minister.

Now David Cunliffe is no Barack Obama by any means.  According to a few polls, he has very little media charisma, is thought of as "a bit dull" and is generally shunned by lots of people, even politicians within his party. 

I wonder if the step up to Party Leader he just recently made was a step too high. He seems like a guy who needs more personal and professional development.

Not an easy spot  him to be in, he seems in over his head. 

So what annoyed me then?  Even though I'm not voting Labour and I don't see this guy as any kind of leader for NZ in any way shape or form - I got a bit pissed off at the fact he was being given a seriously hard time for spending time with his kids on school holiday so close to the next election.

Why would this rattle my chains I hear you ask. Good question.  

The answer is - "Negativity

Let's relate that to the above news article. So okay, the Labour Party is miles behind in the polls and yes, the election is just around the corner, so it should be all hands on deck at Labour Party headquarters, right?

Maybe. But not definitely.

Consider this with a bit of empathy and think about it from David's point of view.
This guy does this for a job, just like whatever job you have or have had.

Based on the article, it's pretty much inferring that unlike you and I, he shouldn't be entitled to take a couple of days off to spend it with his family. 

I'm pretty sure he gets sick days and is entitled to annual leave time, same as everyone else here in NZ.

So why the big deal? Given this entitlement, no one should be questioning this fact in the first place...right? 

But they are. 

So where does this kind of attack come from? Why are they complaining so bitterly? 
Is it because they think he's not working hard enough, even if he is working 18 hour days and has been for months possibly years?

In their perception - yes, that's exactly why. 

Which brings us to my point.  These complaint's have very little to do with David Cunliffe himself and has more to do with THEM, the complainers themselves.

But how? And why? And why should you care about this?

In my experience, over the last 5 years I have seen an increase in "Short poppy syndrome" happening more and more in the public eye. It is the opposite/yet remarkably similar to "Tall Poppy Syndrome".

What? Oh. Right... 

My apologies, you've never heard of either. Possibly because I've made the "short" one up [awkward]. 

So allow me to elaborate.

"Tall Poppy Syndrome" is a common syndrome around the world which has people making cutting remarks against people who are doing well, and against people who are being successful by those that aren't. It comes a lot from jealousy and an over-inflated sense of entitlement.  It's fueled by resentment of other peoples success or talent.

"Short Poppy Syndrome" is a very similar condition I consider to mean people being resentful because someone "should" be being successful due to their talents or position, but aren't. The complainers feel ripped off, robbed.

And here is the kicker. Negativity is like a virus - it will breed and spread at every opportunity. Tall or Short poppy, both will spread infection every chance it gets.

David Cunliffe is a perfect example of short poppy. He seems to be a nice guy, he must have displayed talents to get where he is today, is obviously good at getting people on-board because he was voted in as the Labour Party Leader (albeit not an easy task) and he's also very smart based on what's been reported about his background and rise to leadership.

And yet he's failing. Miserably. 
And this pisses people off, especially those who vote Labour, and those who work alongside him. 

So he's now a target, someone to be aimed at with even more negativity because they're not doing as expected. Talk is he will be forced to step down soon too.  And yes, that will bring more media negativity too.

See where this is going?

Because he's not doing so well, he is a target - a cause to prompt even more negativity. It gets to the point when you wonder if people are actually reveling and celebrating it.

It seems the people who should be siding with him - his own people - aren't. They are all distancing themselves, worried they'll catch the bug that is ruining his career.

Like I've said before, Negativity is easier to dish out than positivity and it sells more newspapers.

The media haven't once said how much positive work David Cunliffe may have put in trying to right these issues his Party keeps running into and bring them up higher in the polls. 
If he does something, or even says something great, there's always a back-handed compliment that almost says "when pigs fly". 
The media could be playing you for the fool. 
Not always, but consider how much personal input the reporter, the news-desk, the producer of the news etc all put into the stories they cover...

Then think about how often your own views on subjects can be wrong based on your own bias.

Think the media is any different?  

I used this article to demonstrate how the media has chosen to report on how insiders are choosing to freak out over Mr Cunliffe taking two days off to spend with his family whilst his kids are off on school holidays, like a good Dad. The negative has been applied to "draw you in".

They want you to think he's a bad man, he's neglected his party to spend 2 days skiing in the South Island with his family.
Oh Yes. The HORROR 
My point - this approach from people is something you need to be aware of, especially if you are a manager, coach, teacher, instructor, even as a parent. It's being taught in the media as normal, even encouraged. Molehills into mountains. Sensationalism is rife and now Negativity is much easier to swallow than Positivity.

I myself was ridiculed only a week ago for chosing to see the positive in a situation rather than dwell on the negative. 
I couldn't change the outcome but I could choose to move on and learn from it. Shit happens, I learnt.

To illustrate this a bit better, let's bring it closer to home.
Lets say you and I are in a meeting. I'm your boss and you trust me. I tell you a dozen times how awesome you are, yet once during I mention how I need you to work on a tiny mistake you made. 

At the end of the meeting, what fact do you remember?  

Are you happy because I told you over a dozen times how great you are?

Or are you thinking about that one tiny mistake you made...

The majority of you will agree. Like I said, Negativity is far easier to swallow than Positivity. 

I don't know why, it just is. For further insight, I suggest googling it. Or going to see a psychiatrist. 

In Mr Cunliffe's case, the fact he spent time with his family since he's going to be working more coming up to the election, should have been sold as a positive, he should've been congratulated, not condemned. Way to go dude, great family values!  But no, that isn't sensational enough.

He should have also been told to stop working 18 hours a day, regardless of how close the election is or how many people are trying to cut him down. 

Ask yourself - if anyone is going to be an effective leader, shouldn't they be less stressed/tired and more clear headed and happy than anyone else, even their own teams and supporters? In most cases, yes. In reality are they? No.

But when you're happy and calm, do you perform better? I'll bet you do.

Same goes for this guy David Cunliffe. And John Key. And Barack Obama. These guys should be chilling as much as possible.

It is vital that you understand these two concepts regarding negativity and standing up by not buying into what you're being fed.  This post is a helpful reminder that you should do your best to teach those closest to you how to combat the negativity and go "old school" on it by bringing up your Mum's saying of "always looking for the silver lining".  It's great advice.

Don't believe everything you read or see on the inter-web either. Even my posts are from my perspective. I'm not necessarily 100% correct either.

Now I'll take a quick second to apologise here too, I'm not some politician "wanna-be".  I don't even like talking about Politics generally, so referring to politic's is a bit of a one-off. 
And I'm not campaigning either. Watching paint dry or grass grow would be more exciting due to all the "hollywoods" that go on in Governments around the world.  

To me, Governments seem so much like soccer (football) games at times, teams just opposition parties.

If it can be seen as a foul, the player will hurl themselves to the ground and scream like a banshee on the chance of getting a penalty/a few more votes/more media coverage/the chance to run their opponent down/get a win.  

Yet it's funny that whenever I've been in an airport lounge, there's always politician's having drinks together, irrespective of what party they're in. Great mates, laughing and enjoying each other's company. You can see the camaraderie - probably a result of the combined negativity they are all subjected to via both the short and tall poppy syndrome attacks

Although perhaps it has more to do with the fact most talk a good talk and can divert most pointed questions without actually answering them. 

It's clever, but its dishonest.

In the media, the fact they all get along couldn't be further from the truth, they dont want you to see that "we all get a long" stuff. 

They want the drama, the gossip and that spell-binding negativity that sucks you in since it gets you tuning in. Negativity can be addictive. Gossip shows like Entertainment Tonight are predominantly negative but they sprinkle in happy "feel good" stories too. I heard once that Entertainment Tonight is the most popular gossip show in the World with millions of viewers globally. They mostly cover drug addicted celebs doing stupid things.

Tall and Short poppy syndrome at its best.

In David Cunliffe's case, since politic's features in the nightly news, EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and it's never 100% positive, he's ratings gold. They need a drama, need a problem, otherwise what could they report on? 

Right now its David Cunliffe's turn and has been for a while. Tune in a see for yourself.

In all honesty, I know this stuff is well known and look, I'm not trying to convert you at all. I figure just like you, I have the choice to either complain about what I see and try to change it or actually get into the ring and do something about it, which is the only reason why I'm writing this. 

Regardless, this isn't my announcement that I'm running for Prime Minister or World Leader. Although if I was, I'd call my Party, EXTREME.

Like all the other posts I load up, this is just about attempting to expand your awareness to your surroundings, not increasing paranoia's or creating weird cults. I like the idea of you being more aware after reading my posts of what you're being fed so that you have the choice to eat up, or put your hand up and say no thanks. It's always your choice.

When it comes to Politic's, I can't help but wonder if David Cunliffe is just another idealistic politician who has gone into politics thinking "I can make a difference!", only to be railroaded by the sheer weight of "this is not the way we do things, newbie" old school rules and the media juggernaut stacked up against him. That and he doesn't know the rules of the game.
They're playing soccer and I think he's playing badminton...and poorly.

Regardless, hopefully you've had enough advice here to be more aware of the negativity around you so that you have the opportunity to fight it.

It's true positivity makes you happier, so school up those you care about most to do the same.

After all, what's the worst that can happen?