“Whoever seeks good finds favor, but evil comes to one who searches for it.”Proverbs 11:27
In the early 1990’s, social psychologist Roy Baumeister began exploring the negativity bias–the widely accepted belief that bad has a stronger impact on people than good. His team conducted extensive research, hoping to find situations where a single positive circumstance was actually stronger than a negative one.
They couldn’t find any.
In fact, Baumeister and his colleagues discovered that negative life events are typically three to five times stronger than positive ones. In other words, it takes four compliments to make up for one put down.
He lays it all out in his 2019 book, The Power of Bad.
Here’s my favorite take away: our brains are hard-wired to focus on bad, but the rational mind can take this in stride by finding the good.
Baumeister recommends a positivity ratio of 4 to 1 (4 good to 1 bad).
Finding the good isn’t a new idea; it’s as least as old as the 1913 novel, Pollyanna. In the book, a young orphan named Pollyanna uses the “glad game” to cope with the circumstances and sorrows of her life.
Here’s how to play:
Always look for something to be glad about in any situation.
This makes sense. Maybe it’s why gratitude journals are so popular, while keeping an ingratitude journal is a non-starter.
But let’s take it all the way back to the first century. The apostle Paul reminded the Christians in Rome that God uses EVERYTHING for the good of those who love and serve Him (Romans 8:28).
“Child, I got this. It’s ALL good.”God
Finally, brothers, Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.Philippians 4:8