March 7, 2015

300 words 2 mins read

Why Hope Beats Anger

The human brain is three times as sensitive to pain as it is to gain.

That’s a gross over-simplification, but it’s basically true. In other words, you’ll work three-times harder to save a dollar you have than to earn one you don’t.

Put another way, you won’t bet a dollar with even odds unless you stand to gain three dollars for a win.

That’s not a flaw. It keeps you alive. It keeps me alive. Our sensitivity to danger and loss makes us careful. It’s an evolutionary, biological feature to keep the species going.

That sensitivity to pain can hold us back, though.

This week, I wrote four blogs. Three were negative. One positive. All on the same subject.

The positive one was so positive I deleted the third negative blog.

While almost three times as many people read the most negative post, the strongest responses came from the positive one. Mark Reardon of KMOX liked it.

Via @whennessy—great blog post about @EricGreitens as a potential candidate for Governor.

— Mark Reardon (@MarkReardonKMOX) March 6, 2015

Former State Senator John Lamping liked it.

@whennessy @EricGreitens is Jewish, no need to whisper.

— John Lamping (@JohnLamping) March 6, 2015

And I hear Navy SEAL and humanitarian Eric Greitens liked it.

Anger, doubt, fear, and negativity get readers, but hope and positivity get results. That’s why hope beats anger.

While I stand behind every keystroke in the negative posts, I hope people read the positive one about Eric Greitens. The negative posts give you nothing to do but bitch and complain, but the Greitens post gives you a solution and a call to action.

Hope beats anger only if we recognize that our brains are three times more sensitive to threats than to opportunity.

I’ll try to remember my own advice.