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A few years back, I was on an improv course in London. It was run by the world famous improv theatre group PGraph, from Texas.

They led exercise after exercise where we’d get on stage, and do scenes where everything was okay.

In drama there’s often conflict. But here, they wanted us to play characters who found everything fine.

If they worked a job, the character liked it. If they were married, they got on with their partner.

If they worked with someone, they admired and respected them.

If someone made a suggestion, our character loved it. It was the best suggestion ever.

Often, the actors would slip into playing a negative person instead. It was hard to avoid.

PGraph always intervened, and switched it back to the positive.

This is how it was for two days.

Eventually, someone asked them about it.

“How come we keep playing scenes where everything is positive?”

The reply was simple.

“Because you need the practice.”

Every human has evolved to focus on the negative.

After all, noticing the negative is what kept our ancestors alive.

Was that noise a lion? The anxious types on the Savannah, who asked that question, got to pass on their genes.

The others? They were lunch.

Every day is an exercise in being alert to the negative. It’s how we’re wired.

We need to practice being positive. It needs some intention.

To see the positive, we have to specifically look out for it.

“What went well today?”

“What am I pleased with?”

“What did I do that worked well?”

“What’s going better?”

You already know how to look out for the bad stuff. Try these questions, and others like it, to exercise your “good stuff” muscle.

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