Strange – We Love Positive People And Yet Consume Negative Media

My wife Barbara is a Health Visitor and some time ago attended a series of NHS training sessions given by a guy called Chris Croft. As a result I often see laying around the house printouts from the his newsletter which I always find fascinating reading.

Now – I don’t know Chris (if you don’t count seeing him playing in a group once) but I feel as though I do.

This is one of the extraordinary things about the web – you can get a fairly good and accurate picture of a person through their output. Do you know I would go so far as to say I like this Crofty chap (or at least I know I would get on with him fine if I met him). His positive attitude comes through in everything he writes and he has great empathy with people etc etc.

There is a real dichotomy here – we love positive people such as Chris and are drawn to them naturally – and yet we consume so much negative fodder from our doom laden media and seem hell bent on watching more and more of the awful side of life on our box.

If there is any body of people that deserve a bad press more than MPs it is the journalists themselves. (I wonder how squeaky clean the lives of these reporters are?)

I am no great fan of Gordon Brown but I watched with some amusement as two journalists were interviewed on the BBC on Monday morning – one from the ‘Telegraph’ and the other from ‘The Mirror’. They were almost beside themselves with rage that the Press had not managed to bring Brown down and that the media frenzy to destroy the man had been thwarted. Brown had basically silenced his back bench critics for the time being and the media were desperately scurrying around to find continuing dissenters to give them a prominent platform – just so that the bad press for Brown could be maintained.

Robert Peston – business reporter at the BBC – is a media man who has to almost grit his teeth if there is any good news to report. He will always negate any good news about the economy with a BUT ….

Don’t these people want the economy to pick up?
If you are in a privileged position and can talk daily at people and tell them things are bad bad bad – and then in the next breath report that people have no confidence and therefore are not buying – why should they be surprised by the cause and effect response – which they themselves are fuelling.

Confidence is so important in life and our whole economy is controlled by it. So what a shame that the media is so good at destroying that most important of ingredients to an economic recovery.

We are all bombarded with e-mails these days and opening rates of messages are disappointingly low. Internet Marketers discuss topics ad nauseum such as how to title an e-mail to achieve higher opening rates.
I carried out a minor bit of research last week. I had to send a message to Adam Eason’s list which is now 15,000 strong.

The content of the message doesn’t matter – but I was able to title the e-mail either “Good News” or “Bad News”. So I decided to send half of the list the positive title and the other half the negative one. I tracked the result and – you’ve guessed it there were four times as many opened the e-mail “Bad News” as opposed to the alternative title. How sad is that?

I mentioned Chris Croft and his newsletters above. I leave you with the content of the Newsletter from him that prompted this blog post. I have not asked his permission but I am confident he will forgive me given that I have said such glowing things about him.

ASssertiveness tip from CC – Kangaroo

I used to work with a guy who was very lively, verging on random in his thoughts, and people used to say that he “had a kangaroo loose in the top paddock”. I love that expression!

But we all have a small kangaroo, or maybe just a sulky badger, or timid mouse, loose in our top paddock, because we don’t have control over our thought processes. We don’t want to think impatient thoughts, but we do. We don’t want to be nervous about the presentation, but we are. We’d like to me more tidy, better at planning, less of a procrastinator, better under pressure, etc, but somehow we don’t do the things that we easily could.

So we have a voice in our head that we can’t really control (luckily in most cases it doesn’t tell us to murder people, it just tells us to put things off till tomorrow or to have another doughnut) and we have habit patterns that we can’t get out of – called life scripts.

In fact to be a bit more precise, according to Transactional Analysis, we have a talking voice – our conscious – and a silent controller of our behaviour – our subconscious. The subconscious is a store of everything that has happened, and everything that the talking conscious has said. So if you say you’re impatient, and then behave in an impatient way, the subconscious KNOWS that you are impatient, and makes you behave like that next time.

Therefore your thoughts about yourself become true over time, and they begin to control your behaviour, and become “life scripts” which tell you how to live your life. Some can be positive, and that’s great, but negative ones also self-reinforce: “I’m always late” “I can’t help putting things off, it’s just how I am” “I always get horribly nervous before giving a talk” “I crumble under pressure” “I get impatient” – these are all self fulfilling beliefs that people have about themselves.

Suggestions on how to gradually win the mental battle to improve yourself:

1. Do something each day that flatly contradicts a negative self-impression of yourself. Prove your subconscious wrong!

For instance, if you suspect that you never quite finish a job, choose a twenty minute task and finish it properly.

2. Also, try to catch your negative self-talk every time it crops up, and replace it by positive thoughts, ideally specific things that you ARE good at, and attributes that are positive about yourself. Only feed good messages into your subconscious.

3. Since I have been experimenting with meditation I have found, surprisingly, that it has given me more control over the thoughts in my head – for example, in situations where I would have been ragingly impatient before, I am now able to say “I’m going to be patient now” and the inner voice, which used to say “This is infuriating, come on, aargh!, how long is this going to take???” now behaves itself and goes quiet. I’ve no idea why, but I can report that it is true. Full write up on the pros and cons of meditation so far in on my forum/blog at

Keep up the good work Chris and maybe catch up with you some day for a beer.


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