Friday 24th April 2020

You may know Martin (a psychologist and trainer with The Art of Brilliance) from his workshops at Find Your Sense of Tumour.

He recorded these short videos for us to help you understand the ‘negativity bias’ and how you can overcome it by starting your day with a few simple, positive thoughts. Thanks Martin!

Watch below or keep reading for top tips on positive thinking.


What is the negativity bias?

So what I really want to talk about is the voice that happens within our heads.

There’s this thing called the ‘negativity bias’, which means that we think about the bad stuff that could happen in our lives all the time.

So if I drop my keys on the floor, or if something doesn’t quite go my way, or I hear that somebody may be talking about my ears or whatever else it is, then I go ‘mmm, what is that?’

What most people do is they reflect and lament on the negative things again and again.

One way to overcome that is to understand how that feels. And if we prepare ourselves on a consistent basis, we can up our levels of our self-worth.

How to start your day right

I’d like to teach you how to start your day so that you start with an understanding of who you are.

When I say these two words, what do you say after? ‘I am…’

So what comes to your mind after that?

Is it ‘I am… kind’, ‘I am… brave’? Or do you think ‘I am… not very good at something’?

The brain doesn’t understand not knowing. It takes what we know, and tries to do something with that information.

So when I say to myself ‘I am brave’, ‘I am kind’, ‘I like to help people’, then my brain starts to find ways and scan the world for where that’s possible.

When I say ‘I’m not very good at…’ or ‘Why am I so rubbish?’ my brain then finds the answers to those questions.

So we can deflect some of the negative voices in ourselves by using these key things. And if I was to look into a mirror every morning and just have this:

  • ‘I am kind’
  • ‘I am enough’
  • ‘I am worthwhile’
  • ‘The planet is a better place because I’m here’

And I repeat that every morning, every morning, every morning so it becomes a habit.

Then all of a sudden, my brain starts to change. So instead of scanning the world for the negative stuff around me, I start to scan the world for the good stuff.

Being at your best: the ‘four minute rule’


Some of the people I study are the most positive people in the world, and one of the things they do is they have this thing called the four minute rule.

And the four minute rule says this: ‘How does the best…’ – and then insert the role that you play, so the best son, the best brother, the best sister, the best auntie, the best student – go into that room?

Your ‘happiness reputation’ is probably about four minutes, so you’ve got four minutes of you at your best. And then that has an impact on [your] own positivity, but it also has an impact on the world, and therefore when people think about you, what do they think about?

How do you make people feel? How do you make people act as a result of spending time with them, and what do you make them believe about what’s possible?

So think about those – F, A, B (feel, act, believe).