Pollution Solution

OpEd from the desk of Transporter Editor Reed Hollinshead:

The darkest of all is not created by the lack of light, but rather by the knowledge that the light may never return. The hope of something better sustains us. Hopelessness erodes the spirit. But, we have the key to combating that, and it is right under our noses. Literally.

The words that come out of your mouth can tear down, can build up, and can re-set the thermometer in the room. Your attitude generally follows the altitude you choose to cruise through the day with. Negativity is cancerous. If we only occasionally dabble in it, and don't stay for too long, we’re usually OK. If we marinate in it, however, we're in big trouble. Bitterness is fertile soil for dissatisfaction and discontent. And not just for that person.

Like the principle of second-hand smoke, you don't have to be the one doing it to be effected. You just need to be in the room, and linger long enough.

We were asked in a recent survey to describe our ideal culture. Dollars to donuts, it boils down to a positive, supportive, encouraging atmosphere at work.

The best, most successful workplace initiatives — the ones that have the greatest long-term impact - start with the atmosphere we create and live in. Gratitude sets the altitude for you, your group, even the agency as a whole. Staying cynical, aloof, or detached is really something we should have discarded after high school, when we realized it wasn't really cool at all.

Engaging in uplifting, encouraging conversation shows the other person you value them. When we’re children we can get away with self-centered talk, but being an adult means thinking of others and being intentional about their well being.

What really excites you and gives you the most satisfaction at work? What do you love about what you do? If you can’t answer either of those questions, coming to work can be a long, painful grind. It’s in your best interest, and in the best interest of those around you, to find something positive to focus your energies on. Maybe it’s overcoming a long-standing challenge; maybe it’s just being a better version of you this week than you were last week.

Don’t get me wrong:  We all enjoy a well-timed jab now and then. Or just plain old-fashioned good humor, but no one wants to live there forever. Genuine caring and compassion are rare...which also makes them easy to spot, and easier still to appreciate.

Remember the experiment that was popular years ago about speaking positive things to plants to make them grow? We also do that same thing with babies in the womb and even infants and toddlers. We seem to have forgotten that lesson when we’re dealing with adults.

So speak life, and walk away or excuse yourself when the atmosphere gets too polluted. Sprinkle occasional pleasantries throughout the day, or overwhelm your workplace with joy and positivity if that's your style. Change the atmosphere. It will be beneficial...and not just for you.

Published 09-14-18