The Power of being Positive

Author: Marco C. Janssen, UTInnovation, the Netherlands

I recently read an article about a study that claims that we pay ten times more attention to negative news than to positive.
The author, Stuart Soroka suggests that humans may be neurologically, or physiologically predisposed towards focusing on negative information because the potential costs of negative information far outweighs the potential benefits of positive information.
Yet at the same time, I have experienced that when exposed to positive news people tend to be happier and more creative. In a positive environment, we, the humans thrive and push forward to find more, better and more effective and efficient solutions.
Now that the signs are getting stronger that we are finally leaving the big crisis that kept us in a stranglehold for many years it is time for our leaders to start voicing the positive message, and for us to create a positive mindset that would allow us to grow and be happy.

I currently live in a country that was hit hard by the crisis, many of its businesses had closed, talent fled the country in search of better opportunities, and what was left behind was a society in despair.
However, when we moved here, I noticed that there were many opportunities for people to create a business, in renewables, providing better customer service, in mobile platforms, etc. Yet the common reply when mentioning the opportunities is that of a negatively oriented society.
The first excuse is that they don’t know how, the second excuse is that they do not have the money to do it, and the third excuse is that there are too many rules that make it difficult to do it.
These excuses are of course real for the people who use them, however in a positive society we would deal with this situation way differently.

First if we see an opportunity and we don’t know how to realize it, we would educate ourselves - by reading or by talking to people who do know. Then we would look for financing opportunities, through a loan, a partner with funds or another financial model. Finally, when it comes to the rules, we should start by talking to the politicians and try to find ways to handle the obstructions that the rules and laws may pose.
In the end, we would most likely find a way to realize the opportunity we have identified. In the worst case scenario we would at least have educated ourselves and would have created new contacts and references that we could leverage in the next occasions.

The power of positive thinking can be seen in the way leading cities are developing themselves. Whoever goes to a positive city sees lots of exciting projects being developed, positive headlines in the newspapers, people everywhere discussing new business opportunities. These cities attract talent and provide an exciting environment for people to live and work in.

Being born in a society that focuses more on the negative than on the positive I understand the stronger focus that people have for the negative. Yet having lived and worked in many different places on our beautiful planet, I have come to learn that positive thinking and a positive focus are way better for our future and for our own health.
I therefore think it is time to shed our negative thoughts and focus on the positive, who knows what we will be able to achieve then.

Marco C. Janssen is the CEO of UTInnovation LLC and the Director of the Smart Grid PMO at the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority. He received his BSc degree in Electrical Engineering from the Polytechnic in Arnhem, Netherlands and has worked for over 27 years in the field of Smart Grid, Protection, Control, Monitoring, Advanced Metering Infrastructures, Distribution and Substation Automation. He was a member of IEC TC57 WG 10, 17, 18, 19, the IEEE PES PSRC and CIGRE B5 and D2 WGs. He was the convenor of D2.35 and editor of the Quality Assurance Program for the Testing Subcommittee of the UCA International Users Group. He holds one patent, has authored more than 58 papers, is co-author of four Cigre Technical Brochures and two books on Smart Grids and Electrical Power Substations Engineering and is the author of the “I Think” column in the PAC World magazine.

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