A few days ago I was listening to one of my favorite programs. The topic of the week was about one person ruining things for a group. There were different angles taken about different topics but the one that stuck with me was the bad apple theory.
According to one study done with groups of people trying to accomplish an objective, one “bad apple” can indeed ruin the barrel. Study participants were split into groups, some with a planted bad apple (an actor being a downer/antagonist) and some without. They were then given a task to complete. The groups with the downer in them did significantly worse than the others.
Ladies (and Ray), on yet another confessional note, I am totally that person. Is the glass half full or half empty? Looks broken and/or leaky to me.
I’ve been reflecting on this for a few days now. I imagine spending time mulling this over is one of those life opportunities that, if made the most of, can really be inspirational. So I’m trying to be more aware of my black-cloud tendencies. I figure this is the first step in the right direction. I’m not sure what the next step is, but I feel like I really need to internalize this rather elementary-seeming life lesson: Nobody likes a grump. Moreover, grumps ruin it for the rest of us.
Scrooge and the Grinch would not have become famously loved grumps if they didn’t pull out of it in the end. I can’t recall any successful tales of perennial grumps who were simply that – grumpy to the end. Am I going to need some sort of Cindylou Who or Ghosts or something? It’s not like I haven’t had adversity (erecting lightning rod, now) to teach me this lesson – I just haven’t changed all the way. Yet. I am still quite a grump. I gravitate toward finding fault, I dwell on worst-case scenarios and negativity. I tell myself it’s all in the name of realism, but I’m not sure I’m fooling me anymore.
Will I see the light? Will I stare at the glass long and hard enough to decide that it can be half full? Can you BE a grump for nearly 34 years and then CHANGE? I’ve known for a while that being a grump has few benefits for me, but being reminded that it ruins it for the group has definitely been food for thought. As I see grumpy tendencies in my 3 year old the lesson is driven deeper. I don’t want him to be a grump, I want him to be happy. I really admire people who seem to have built-in cheery dispositions.
Am I alone in this? Are there any other grumps out there? Are any of you cheery disposition types just faking? How does being so darn sunny all the time work?
And so it is that I stare into the bowels of a New Year…
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