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Are we naturally positive?

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A handheld digital camera.Image via Wikipedia

Which would you recognize more quickly?  A candid photograph of yourself, or, a photo airbrushed in your favor?

It seems we recognize “better” images of ourselves more quickly.

I don’t find it terribly surprising that we prefer prettier pictures of ourselves.  What seems to be significant is that we recognize ourselves a split second sooner when we are looking good!

  • I wonder if this holds when we are depressed?
  • And does it hold for verbal descriptions – do we recognize a positive account of our contribution more quickly than a realistic account?

I am fumbling here, but I suspect this may be very significant for managing social media campaigns?


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  1. Take a Labrador pup and go the negative route….. – it wont work. Take the same dog and be positive ……. amazing what it will learn and do. No matter how bad you feel, the lab will come along to cheer you up. Are we naturally positive? Not sure. Labs are. Same with kids, postive stuff works really well. But I do have a question for you. What about the bully? They are not positive and boy do they bring people down. They are an example of why we need to have the right environment from day one. Can punching a bully on the nose be positive? (For the victim it would feel good and perhaps even be positive!)

  2. jojordanwlc jojordanwlc

    Hi Paul

    I think we can only learn from seeing a model of what we have to do. Punishment blocks but as it doesn’t provide an alternative, we get little return for the effort.

    Bullies, I agree, can be like abused dogs. Don’t reach out and pat them. It’s dangerous.

    But to change them, you have to be kind. The difficulty with a dog or person who has been abused, is that in later years, you can trigger memories, and the trauma comes flooding back. I had a dog once who readily retreated into sadness. Fortunately he was never aggressive. He just always expected to be deserted again.

    In the short term we may need to exercise self-defense. I think the principle of the law is good: never use more force than has been used against you and is about to be reapplied!
    1. Side step if you can.
    2. Block if you can’t.
    3. Support moves to get the fellow some help!

    I am all for kids learning karate or judo if they are in school or neighborhood where they are likely to be bullied. That gives them a picture of themselves as coping and they are more likely to side step any bullying with ease (and set an example to other kids.)

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment as ever.

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