If you’re like most people, you’re really good at noticing what’s wrong.

We’re wired to take in the negative. And how can you problem-solve if you don’t start with what’s wrong, right? Nope.

We do better when we start with what’s right.

Whine, Moan, and Complain

Anyone who overheard the conversation among my colleagues and me at my part-time, joy job would have jumped to the same conclusions: Terrible teachers. Horrible people. Who hate kids. And love to complain.

All false.

We’re terrific teachers who love kids and teaching and learning and nature. We just started with the wrong question.

By starting with what was wrong, we focused on the negative, the problem, which made it harder and take longer to get to what was right and how to make it even better.

OK, so, the class was a bit of a challenge. First graders. Friday before spring break. First time with a new curriculum. Subject: invertebrates. Weather: too cold for any smart invertebrate to come out of hiding.

But we rocked starting with what was wrong after class.

Finally realized that it actually went pretty darn well. Which led to realizing that what we really wanted was to be even better next time. Workable ideas followed, along with confidence that it will be an even better class for students – and teachers – in the future.

From Wrong to Right

I didn’t remember the Magic Moment until the next morning, that moment when the quiet kid, the distracted kid, the kid whose name you learn within nanoseconds because they’re so “excited,” blurts out something that totally makes your day. Without punctuation.

I was afraid of bees, but I learned that they’re awesome and I like them now because they pollinate the plants and without them we wouldn’t have food and they really don’t want to sting us they just want to get more nectar from the flower and that’s how they get the pollen but they don’t even know they’re helping us and I’m not afraid of them any more now I love bees! 

It was the kind of Magic Moment that had me high-fiving the whole class. And still smiling whenever I think about it.

Took a whole day to remember it even happened. Because we got so caught up in what was wrong instead of starting with what’s right.

Start With What’s Right

By staring with what’s right, our conversation would have been more like celebration than frustration, our energy would have been lighter, our ideas would have come more easily. I would have smiled on the way home, not just the next morning, thinking about the boy who fell in love with bees.

Not by ignoring the negatives, but by starting with what was right.

Lift Up the Good

I talk all the time about how positivity is about intentionally noticing the good stuff without burning energy trying to pretend away the negatives – that will always be there.

Start with the right question in order to navigate the negatives more positively.

Start with what’s right.


Looking for help focusing more on what’s right? Let’s talk about how I can help. Schedule a complimentary call.

image Pixabay; used with permission

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