Monday, April 24, 2006

Angry/negative people can be bad for your brain

I consider myself a happy person. I just can't see the value of being angry about things. Life is full of opportunities, not problems. I like to think I come up with solutions to life's problems, not excuses for why they can't be solved. And I definitely notice the problem when I end up in a crowd of really negative people.

I think being happy is a better way to live your life than being miserable. And today, I'm "happy" to report that someone with a bit more credibility than me agrees with me.

Creating Passionate Users is an interesting blog that's all about injecting passion into what we do. It's written by several people, including Kathy Sierra. It was one of her posts recently, called "Angry/negative people can be bad for your brain" that I want to direct you to.

Here's how she introduced her piece:
Everyone's favorite A-list target, Robert Scoble, announced the unthinkable a few days ago: he will be moderating his comments. But what some people found far more disturbing was Robert's wish to make a change in his life that includes steering clear of "people who were deeply unhappy" and hanging around people who are happy. The harsh reaction he's gotten could be a lesson in scientific ingorance, because the neuroscience is behind him on this one.

I recommend you read what she has to say. It really struck a chord with me and to a certain extent validated some of the things I've come to feel are important rules for me to live by.

One interesting thing I've been doing lately is challenging people when they say they "hate" something. I honestly don't believe that we should "hate" anything. Perhaps strongly dislike is OK, but not hate. I believe that words are powerful. If we use them, they are real. If we are always using war analogies, or talking about "hating" something, we make it real. While we might tell ourselves (and others) that we aren't really serious, we are.

So when I hear someone use that word, I challenge them to think about why they're using it, and whether they really mean it. Now, thanks to Kathy's article, I'll be able to point them to someone other than me to explain why I think it's important.

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