The Hidden Cost of Negativity

the hidden cost of negativity

Every year, during the election cycle, I see a spike in negativity.  It’s not just in the candidates.  It happens to the community too.  This phenomenon makes sense.  We, as a society, are actively consuming this poison every day…and what goes in comes out.

Years ago, marketers discovered a very important truth about negative political advertising.  Those negative ads very rarely flip a voter.  You don’t have one opinion, see a negative ad about your candidate and change your mind.  That’s pretty rare.  The effect of negative ads is that they create voter apathy.  They actually decrease the voter turnout of the supporters of their opponent.

The goal then is not to get you to change your mind.  The goal is to get you not to participate at all.

And unfortunately, that marketing often works.  We have seen a dip in voter turnout for years.  Those sorts of negative tactics are frustrating and they have long-lasting negative consequences that are difficult to measure.  As I said at the beginning, this negativity seeps into the culture.

But there is a hidden cost of negativity.

When you are on the receiving end of negative attacks, it weighs on you.  This doesn’t have to be in a political campaign.  If you listen to those voices that attack your idea, your business, or your integrity it can affect how you see yourself.  We all go into a project (or a campaign) with a certain purpose or goal.  We have a version of ourselves that we want to be…and the change we want to make.

But the more and more our opponents attack us, we can begin to question ourselves.  We start to overthink our own motives and strategies.  We take our eyes off the prize and start focusing on our detractors.  In other words, we start renting our headspace to people that don’t deserve it.  

That’s the hidden cost of negativity.  It costs us ourselves.

When we are living in that space of negativity, we are not thinking pro-actively.  We are not driving the bus.  This is a reactive way to live and lead.  When you are looking for reasons to be pissed (as I was recently) you are not on offense.

If you find yourself in that space right now, here are a few ideas to get you back on track.

  • Reconnect To The Mission:  You had a goal when you started.  Get back to that.
  • Reconnect To You:  You know the kind of person you are.  You know your mission and purpose.  Focus on that.
  • Control What You Can Control:  As the great quote goes, “Other people’s opinion of you is none of your business.”  Easier said than done for sure…but still true.
  • Push Out Good:  It’s so hard to do this in a sea of negativity.  But your real supporters will see it…and know that you have not lost sight of your goal…and yourself in the process.

There are consequences to every action.  Some are good and some are bad.  Let’s keep vigilant about the hidden cost of negativity.

Then when you are ready…you can create the change you want to make in the world.

Get a copy of my best-selling book “The Give First Economy” for FREE here.  Thanks for reading!  Learn more about Hasseman Marketing (and how we might be able to help you) here.

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