As Seth Godin so poignantly wrote in one of his recent blog posts, for every post that is published there are two or three that didn’t make the cut. And that’s exactly my process, which includes a lot of lost posts and unfinished documents. But, this happened even more so with this post.

I began writing focusing on tips to productively work with a manager or boss, who due to personality conflicts or other factors, creates a challenging work environment. But, through my research and conversations, I realized that the dialogue surrounding this topic is much more complicated and the overarching problem is far broader.

So I scraped my original posts and landed on this topic – Three Ways to Deal With Negativity – because to me, that is needed more than anything and if you can overcome negativity then you can deal with the challenges you may face especially when it comes to navigating a challenging environment or relationship.

So, here are three ways to overcome negativity and focus on moving in a positive and productive direction.

  1. Identify the source. When feeling some sort of negative energy (or blatantly negativity that’s in your face), sometimes we have to take a step back to pinpoint its roots and figure out what is happening at and below the surface. For instance, when I feel negativity coming from someone, I often think about the adage, “Everybody’s got something,” meaning that I am probably not the source of the projected negativity. There is a good chance that the person is facing something below the surface and is redirecting the negativity, sometimes unknowingly. Once you can figure out the source, it will help you understand how to deal with it.
  1. Control your own thoughts and mood. Remember, we can only control us. No one but you decides if you’re happy or sad or angry, so it’s really up to how we receive the negativity and what we choose to do with it. In the words of Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs, “What you do, who you’re with, and how you feel about the world around you, is completely up to you.”
  1. Focus on the positive. Yes, this is about finding the silver lining. The negativity may be annoying and inconvenient, but maybe it can be used a fuel to push you to do something different.

Ultimately, it all boils down to perspective and how you choose to look at situations. It’s the old concept of the glass is half full vs. the glass is half empty – it’s your choice whether you see negativity and conflict, or positivity and opportunity.