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"Find the bright spots."
That's what Dan Heath, co-author of Switch, exhorted the 2,000 attendees at last week's NTEN Nonprofit Technology Conference to do. (I was one of the multitude.)
He explained where he was coming from.* Psychologists, he said, have found that "bad is stronger than good." We as humans are biased toward negativity because that focus helps us problem-solve.
Thus, Dan said, we call each other to say, "I'm having a lot of problems with my boyfriend right now and I'd really love to get your advice on how to fix it."
What we never call to say: "I'm having a wonderful and smooth relationship with my boyfriend right now and I'd really love to examine that with you and see what's working."
In short ...
"Analyzing problems comes naturally. Analyzing successes doesn’t."
Dan's solution to overcoming human nature is to find the bright spots: forget the problems, focus instead on what’s working right now, and think about how we can do more of it.
Excellent point, I think, one that extends well beyond management theory to every aspect of life, love, and self-reflection. So that's what this week's prayer will look at -- the bright spot.
* Many thanks to Jodi Sperber for her Google notes on the opening plenary.
Prayer #157: Bright Spot
I have nothing to fix tonight. No sins. No shame. No slip-ups. Just something to say:
I had one moment today where I could have chosen the wrong response. But I didn't. I rose above it. For one brief and brilliant moment I embodied what You've always asked me to be. Thank You for that grace.
Of course, in the next moment -- and the 4,672 moments before and after that -- I plummeted back to earth in spectacular fashion. And I anticipate I will continue to do so for the vast majority of moments going forward since I don't see myself achieving a higher plane of being any time soon.
But I've seen now what I can be, and the lesson leaves the kind of light lingers for a long time -- long enough for me to follow it back to You.