Have you ever been heaped with praise, only to ignore it in favor of focusing on the lone piece of criticism you received?
That's the power that bad things wield, and it's a power that humans need to learn how to both harness and mitigate.
My guest today lays out both sides of that coin in a book he co-authored with psychologist Roy Baumeister. His name is John Tierney and the book is The Power of Bad: How the Negativity Effect Rules Us and How We Can Rule It. We begin our conversation discussing how much stronger bad is than good, and how many good things it takes to offset a single bad one. We then dig into the implications of the fact that bad things have a much stronger impact than good ones, including how you really only need to be a good enough parent to your kids, the best way to deliver criticism to others, and why religions that emphasize Hell have historically won more adherents than those that focus on Heaven. We also talk about how negativity is contagious and why it's true that one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch. We end our conversation with a look at whether or not social media is a negative force in our lives, and John's advice on how to not let those he calls "the merchants of bad" in the media make us think that things in the world are worse than they really are.
Lots of insights in this show on how both to use the power of bad to your advantage, and overcome its negative effects.
Get the show notes at aom.is/powerofbad.