Positively Negative

Have you noticed how negative people can be? Well, being the sensitive person I am, I notice every time someone is "oppositional" to what might otherwise be a positive opportunity to contribute. Even the other day I was noticing that my daughter was persistently negative, which I pointed out - and then told her to stop being negative and to think positively...and then I realized that I should have been pointing to me!

NEW ORLEANS - APRIL 7:  Syracuse fans Charles and Barbara Lutz with their kids Mark and Katie cheer their team on against Kansas during the championship game of the NCAA Men's Final Four Tournament on April 7, 2003 at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

I was embarrassed by my lack of consciousness - the fact that the observer - me - was looking for the negative so I could point out that negativity is not optimal...duh.


Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is a method and way of life that comes from standing in the field of what is life-giving, and focusing with such determination on what is working, that everything is grounded in success - especially challenges. Instead of seeing something as needing to be fixed, AI sees something that can be addressed by reminding ourselves of previous successes.

David Cooperridder, AI's founder, used to take videos of his kids' basketball games and edit out only the things that didn't work well. Then he would sit and watch it with them, celebrating and pointing out the especially extraordinary and successful moves or shots to the basket. His kids learned to coach their fellow athletes by encouraging and pointing out their best moves, and the team went on to win in their Division.

The word "enthusiasm" came first from the Greek word that means "possessed by the gods." I think that focusing on the positive core of a person or situation is just what the gods ordered. Now all I need is someone to remind me so I can unlearn decades of traditional problem solving mentality...Oh, there I go, focusing on the negative. Where's my AI Coach?

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