Do you have a leaning to be negative?
At the BCS Business Change SIG last night in London, we had a great conversation. I expected we would, but I wasn’t sure what turn it would take. But isn’t that the way of all great conversations?
We were exploring the concept of Resilient Hope. In the discussion following my presentation, one person mentioned he’d be reading Daniel Kahneman’s seminal work, Thinking Fast, Think Slow, and he referenced what Kahneman had identified as the Loss Aversion Bias, the tendency we all have for protecting our decisions and investments even if they might be wrong and we are losing, by investing, even more, to shore them up. We don’t like losing. This works itself out in public, for example, by major projects and programmes, where clearly the business case is failing or has gone, but such is the investment that has gone into it, we pour good money after bad, because we don’t to face the fact that we might have backed the wrong horse.[shareable cite=”Dr Dean Ornish”]Joy is a more powerful motivator than fear.[/shareable] The conversation led on to talk about the climate of negativity in many of our work cultures and why that is.
I’m reminded of a great book by Dr Brené Brown, called Daring Greatly. Dr Brown is known for her research on shame, vulnerability and scarcity, but what emerges from her work, her interviews with parents and others is something transcendently positive. She is able to identify health through connecting with joy through gratitude.However, she has remarked that we find joy “terrifying.” She has identified a mental narrative that most of us recognise called foreboding joy. Foreboding joy is where we catch ourselves in joy, and immediately fear that we will pay for it, or fear that something will come along to snatch it away.
However, she has remarked that we find joy “terrifying.” She has identified a mental narrative that most of us recognise called foreboding joy. Foreboding joy is where we catch ourselves in joy, and immediately fear that we will pay for it, or fear that something will come along to snatch it away.
This is perfectly irrational of course. People do prevail in joy. Look at this Oprah Winfrey interview with Brené Brown:
In my presentation, I quoted from Dr Dean Ornish, the leader of a breakthrough programme in leading behavioural change for chronically ill patients from lifestyle-induced illness. He said, “Joy is a more powerful motivator than fear.” Indeed it was, as people soon began to see and feel health benefits from a radical and repeated regime. Rather than be motivated by “do this or you will die” sort of counsel, they connected with joy and through that resilient hope emerged.
Maybe we need to take more care of joy in our lives and not snuff it out too quickly.[reminder] What do you think?[/reminder]
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It's time to rediscover the power of resilient hope. Very little of the standard change management literature addresses this. If thought of at all, 'hope" is usually regarded as a weak emotion, not worthy of building upon.
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