The Power of Negativity

crticsmathRemember the old saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?” I have to say, that through life experiences, I’ve come to realize that this statement is completely false. The bruises that are caused by sticks and stones may last for a period of time, but the scars words leave can last a lifetime.  

At the recent Florida Virtual School Professional Learning Conference, we had the opportunity to hear from speaker Jon Acuff. He gave a great keynote presentation about “punching fear in the face,” including the equation “1 Insult + 1,000 Compliments = 1 Insult.”  This equation represents so much about us as humans, doesn’t it? We could have hundreds of people tell us positive things, but it’s the one negative comment that we tend to dwell on. As a Math teacher, it’s always an interesting analogy to think about how any positive number, no matter how big, when multiplied by a negative number will always yield a negative answer. It helps me realize the power of negativity.

This equation he gave really stuck with me as a teacher. It has caused me to think about every single interaction that I have with students, families, and stakeholders. It challenges me to be part of the 1,000 compliments and to strive to never be the one insult in anyone’s life. We always like to talk about the teacher or influencer who changed our life, who gave us hope, and who believed in us. However, I think that all of us can remember a teacher or influencer who told us we couldn’t do something, couldn’t be something, and couldn’t achieve something for one reason or another.

It’s time that we change this equation and refuse to accept the negativity by being a beacon of positivity, one interaction at a time.

Will you be a part of the 1,000 compliments or the one insult? Go out and punch fear in the face!

Post by Shawn Wigg, Former Lead Teacher and 2014 FLVS Teacher of the Year



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