“How’d you end up?” Andrew asks after a marathon poker session. I had played 24 hours straight and booked a solid win. “Any interesting hands,” he continues. We work through some possible mistakes. Common words and phrases we use are “misplay, next time, I prefer and I rather.” A recent study found that of the 24 most common words to describe emotion, only 6 of them are positive. We leave an hour later. I recall the number encouraging hands we discussed. Zero.
Imagine watching a movie with equally diverse yet potent images. For example, the disparity in “Hostel” between explicit sex and graphic violence. Although equally detailed, the images of violence account for the overwhelming majority of our recollection. What’s more, scores of gossip magazines such as People, US Weekly and Star thrive by exploiting the faults of others instead of praising their achievements.
In other facets of life the same philosophy is applied. A studious child gets straight A’s for years and suddenly get a C-. The parent is concerned. The employee diligently shows up to work for months and decides to take a single day off. The boss gets mad. The loving partner is faithful for 16 years and cheats once. The relationship ends.
We dwell on the bad and overlook the good. Michael Jordan said: “I never looked at the consequences of missing a big shot…when you think about the consequences you always think of a negative result.” By channeling our energy into that which we excel, we will lead healthier, fuller and happier lives. If it worked for Jordan, maybe it’s worth a try. ♠