Most of us have that person(s) in their professional or personal life that is so full of negative energy or commentary that you find yourself eventually avoiding like the plague at some point. They’ve heard your insights and pep talks (many times over in some cases), and continue to focus on the same tired frustrations. These people are fundamentally different than someone who provides the frank (and often times extraordinarily valuable) feedback that helps you refine your concept or initiative. It could be a parent, or a sibling, or a spouse, or a business partner, or a work colleague, or a friend, or a classmate, etc. Some are north-going Zax, while others are south-going Zax; and show up in all kinds of shapes and sizes. They needn’t be bad people – we know a number of them that are, in fact, very good people.
They’re the very people we care about. Sometimes deeply. Their motives can be all over the board – some believe they have our best interests at heart; some just need to talk; while others perhaps secretly hope to bring us down. Regardless, they suck our time and our energy; and if we allow too much of it in our lives, we end up talking and walking and thinking and acting just like they do. And we also end up getting the same results they oft-achieve. There is something in human nature that feeds on negativity and pessimism. This dynamic plays out in workplaces and homes every day and everywhere. Outside of some really great grunge bands (which we are partial to), its fruits don’t serve the innovator. We suppose they can get someone through life, but they rarely put someone(s) in the right place to create the products and services that make a difference in the world.