It seems hard to fathom, but there just might be something positive to come out of being negative.  What could that be, you ask? 

Steve Frost / ThinkStock

Research indicates that the grumpy person you work with is probably very good at their job because they spend their time on fewer things. This gives them more opportunity to perfect their skills. When researchers observed people working over the course of a week, they grouped them into one of the two categories, either possessing a positive attitude or a negative one. What they discovered was that people who were generally more positive typically focused on a wide variety of tasks, whereas, the more negative group generally did far fewer activities.


When I think about people in my life that are positive, it does seem that they have a lot of irons in the fire. It seems if you are down, a good way to snap out of it is to keep yourself busy because you just don't have as much time to be negative or grumpy. Looking at the other perspective, and not that I enjoy keeping grumpy people very close all that often, when they occasionally do present themselves, it does seem that they, for the most part, do not say yes to anything that is outside of their comfort zone.  I suppose then, it does make sense that negativity would foster a sort of 'zeroed in' zone... as in, yeah, I can do this one thing, but only that, and I am not interested in learning anything other than that.  This reminded me of the movie starring Jim Carey movie, "Yes, Man!" In the movie, there was this underlying theme of either doing things, or not.  Yes/ No.  I remember when I watched it, I sort of examined my attitudes and behaviors, because I had never stopped to think about how much fun I could have if only I would just try some new things.  It really did work for me, but yes, I may have became more of a jack of all trades and not as focused as I had been before.  I think maybe I, as I'm sure many people have,  have been on both sides of this grumpy / happy coin at times.


imtmphoto / ThinkStock

Do you think there is any truth to that?  If negative people are better at their jobs, is it worth having to put up with them in order to get the work done? Would you rather be around negative people or positive people?  Do I have to ask that question?  If most employers knew this information, then why are we taught to smile, shake hands, and be friendly?

I am so confused.


[Penn State]