Kidding … that’s not really me.  But it caused me to remember a few of those days kayaking alone in open water off the northwest coast of the Big Island.  I’d paddle for a while and then hop in the water to skin dive at places that looked interesting.

Nature … she has her own way of reminding us of how tiny and not in control we really are.  Go out and visit her!

(I think I’ll go play golf today!)

(Credit to Thomas P. Peschak for this outstanding photo)

Mike Stockwell writes this blog for his clients, friends and frankly, for his own entertainment. Mike is the Founder of The Pacific Group – Business Advisory Services and works with owners and executives small and mid-size businesses in California and Hawaii, helping them to take their business to the next level. Find out more about Mike and his practice at: and contact him at


From where do you derive your good news?  What do you see or read that recharges your batteries and gives you a lift out of the muck and mire of the daily news, the tabloids, the gossip magazines and TV shows that spew the negative news of the day?  A how do you think that this colors your disposition and your outlook.  Does it color your attitude, your demeanor, your performance at work?

Wait!  … don’t change anything yet!  Instead, just observe for one more day.  Allow your “silent observer” to notice what you hear and see from the media, from friends, from family and, if you can, observe your own self talk.  Just watch and listen … and be amazed at how much negative news, words, and emotions that we are exposed to and endure daily; two wars, terrorist acts, murder, kidnap, lost jobs, deficit, and the partisan politics and babble that emanates from Washington, D.C.  Once you’ve had enough, don’t despair, don’t curl up and hide, don’t shut out the world; but rather, know that antidotes to this plethora of negativity do exist.

We’ll talk about some of those antidotes soon.  But first, let’s first talk about how to lessen the toll that negativity takes on our psyche, our emotions, our disposition, and on our physical health.  Consider these few simple ways to lessen the impact of some of the negative coming your way:

  1. Be Selective … about what you watch, what you read, what you listen to and what and who you surround yourself with.
  2. Remain in Awe … of life, of grace, of nature, of human resilience, of our ability to grow and learn, and of our ability to alter the path we travel and the attitude we bring to that journey.
  3. Slow it down and step aside … recognize the overwhelming amount of negative news for what it is … a way to sell air time, newspapers, magazines and tabloids.  It is not the norm.  Turn off the bad news after you’ve heard what you needed to hear.
  4. Recognize … that there is more good that we as humans do than bad; and that, unfortunately, in our society good news is generally not news.

While this list is neither exhaustive nor complete, it may provide you with a different perspective and a few ideas about what might work for you in mitigating the negativity that we are inundated with every day. 

Mitigating the effect of negativity is a first step.  Counterbalancing it is an important next step.  Here are some proactive steps that I have found helpful in protecting me from the toxins of negativity.

  1. Start the day with some quiet time … Early morning is the perfect time to gather your thoughts, reconsider recent events, reflect and process.
  2. Read something affirming or positive … There are many enriching writings that you can lay your hands on.  Some good examples are the Bible, Daily Bread, the Tao Te Ching, or any work that is broken up into small segments, verses or poems that can be read in 5 minutes or less and then considered for another 5 minutes.
  3. Get some form of exercise every morning … even if you plan on a vigorous workout later in the day, move, stretch, walk, yoga, tai chi; treat your joints, muscles and circulatory system to some daily gentleness for 5-10 minutes every morning.  No need to break a sweat … just move.
  4. Consider the spiritual you … whatever your belief; nourish and align; come back to your center.  Whether it is reconnecting and re-engaging your spiritual self, exploring and stretching, or searching and finding that which resonates deeply with your core beliefs, integrating the spiritual you into your life can enrich relationships, improve outcomes, and change lives.
  5. Stop … observe … appreciate this moment before it is gone.  Throughout the day, allow your silent observer a voice; taking note and enjoying extraordinary, emotional, or even mundane moments as you work, as you relate to others, and as you accomplish.
  6. And I’ll finish with this … whenever you are faced with a choice to be right or to be kind… choose kindness.  Both the recipient and you will derive benefits from your choice.

As a business owner we are counted upon to lead, to be right, to make good decisions, to serve, and to move our organization in a right direction.  To the extent we can, controlling the outside forces that shape and influence our day and finding our own balance is not only wise; it is our responsibility.

Mike Stockwell writes this blog for his clients, friends and frankly, for his own entertainment.  Mike is the founder of The Pacific Group – Business Advisory Services and works with owners and executives small and mid-size businesses in California and Hawaii, helping them to bring balance back to their lives and take their business to the next level.  Find out more about Mike and his business at: and contact him at


Copyright © 2009-2010 by Michael Stockwell

All rights reserved.  No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, or digital, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system or search, without permission in writing from the author.