Monday, October 3, 2011

How Many Positive Comments Does It Take?

Gift box cake 2





I've been reading the book, The Happiness Advantage recently and it talks about the benefits of just such an approach to the people in our lives. I started thinking, "What if we as parents and teachers made sure that the ratio of our positive to negative comments to children was at least three to one?" In other words, for every negative comment we made, we followed-up with three positive comments. How would our environment change... or would we even notice?

It turns out that a lot of research has been done on this very thing by psychologist and business consultant, Marcial Losada. Based on Losada's extensive mathematical modeling, 2.9013 is the ratio of positive to negative interactions necessary to ensure success. Known as the 'Losada Line', the studies show that if you rise above this line (and ideally a ration of six to one is best), then teams produce their very best work. Sounds too easy to be true doesn't it?  Focusing on positive interactions and making sure that we provide a positive environment with more encouragement than negativity can just by itself ensure success.  This isn't about behavior charts or prizes for behavior, althought those things are often helpful.  This is about recognizing that we all perform best when we receive positive recognition for our efforts.  We know this is true for adults, but how often do we as adults feel that our job as parents and teachers is to instruct and correct children, but that positive feedback is nice but not really necessary?  How often have you heard someone say, "Why do I have to compliment them on good behavior when that is just what they are expected to do anyway?"  Turns out we can all figure out why from our own lives... positive feedback is important because we all flourish and perform best in a positive environment.  I know I do... what about you?
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12 comments:

  1. i like this post, and i have read the study papers and data. if we set our mind to look for the good and the god in all and all things. then we have a positive outlook, and negative dose not stand a chance. thank you for this post and god bless

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  2. We all, no matter how old we get, need and celebrate encouragement in our lives. A kind and caring word in acknowledgment of a job well done or a thank you given from the heart are things we cannot live without and be expected to grow spiritually and emotionally. We need these like the flowers need the sun and the rain; otherwise, we die, day by day, inside.
    Wonderful thoughts, Lynne!
    Blessings!

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  3. My answer was NONE... because every action is new... hence if something was done wrong then we try again and again and in each trying something positive comes out of it...
    As much as we celebrate the positives we also need to understand the negatives... why and how these happen... Just like the thorns on a stem of roses.

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  4. We can all use encouragement in our lives...a little well done..etc...even a smile will do....As always...XOXOXOXO

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  5. I focus on staying positive and encouraging, with kids and grown-ups in my life, so I don't have to worry about how many positives it will take to balance out my negative behavior.

    When raising my own kids I developed the discipline to always ask myself "WHY" if I was about to say "NO". There often (usually?) wasn't a good reason, so I said "YES" instead.

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  6. I loved the story of the little girl, if only we'd value everything that came our way with that kind of enthusiasm.
    I'm all for giving feedback as often as possible. But it should be done sincerely, not as a kind of bribe. About the ratio, it sounds a bit like the compliment sandwich technique for coaching - putting the negative feedback between slices of positive feedback. I'm not sure I really like it. I think if you care enough, people will know when you're giving them feedback - it's not negative - it's feedback.

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  7. Loved this post.... feedback's are necessary and more so positive ones. But, with kids...you have to be strict when needed and lenient also and explain to them why the situation called for such a behavior from you. Sort of a open discussion from both the sides.

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  8. This was a great post! A really important reminder for all of us parents out there. Sometimes I think we can be negative without even knowing it. The patterns of either positivity or negativity that we instill in our children in which they start to perceive the world, really can have a lifelong effect. We need to choose our words very carefully...and mindfully :)

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  9. Lots of thought provoking comments! Thanks. I agree that a positive comment that is insincere is worthless and quickly discounted. Also, everyone needs feedback even negative feedback sometimes or we create an artificial world view. I think the important thing is to be intentional and thoughtful about how we communicate.

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  10. Interesting. Just curious why you would suggest that negative feedback is required so as not to create an artificial world view? My worldview is that everything happens for a reason and my goal is to learn from everything that happens. That is real to me and requires only acceptance, reflection and gratitude.

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  11. I think a positive outlook is very important in every factor of our lives; health, success and happiness. Plus negative people are really a drag to hang around lol I started following you . Looks like a very interesting blog , looking forward t reading more!!

    http://jpweddingphotograpy.blogspot.com/2011/10/collaboration-of-photography-and-words.html

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  12. From the tons of comments on your articles,
    positive mindset

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