We are programmed to react to negativity, not positivity.
When you visit my local chemist you have to park on the pavement. There is a proud sign in the window that states only customers can park outside the door. Yes, it is a pavement, but it is so large it accommodates cars and pedestrians.
Whilst waiting outside, I saw a lady pushing a double buggy towards the cars. The buggy was empty, I have no idea why.
She struggled to get the buggy past two of the cars. Having struggled with a pram, I got out and asked if she would like a hand.
No, I’m waiting here to have a go at these drivers.
This was her aggressive reply, not even thanks for the offer.
What makes people move towards negative reactions?
- Why did this lady react this way?
- Why did she not take the kind offer of help and go on with her day?
- What made her pick the negative option of an argument?
I realise the situation was awkward and annoying, I have struggled with a buggy myself. However, as a human race, we are more likely to react negatively than positively now.
Years ago, when people stood for the elderly on buses, this would not have been the case. Lately though, as a species, we are increasingly looking for a fight. Maybe all our labour-saving technology has saved so much energy, we have more for fighting.
This isn’t an isolated example either.
A couple of months ago a Facebook group I used to belong to had a post from the group admin. Notice I said, used to belong to. The message stated, that the group was too much work for no money. If members didn’t donate to his Patreon page, then he was going to shut the group.
The wording isn’t exact, but you get the idea. Basically, pay up for this group or I am taking it away.
The response was overwhelming. Within 48 hours this threat reached donations of three figures. People flocked to donate to this man.
So I ran an experiment.
On my group this week, I posted this friendly message.
What to bet how many people joined and donated to my Patreon page in 48 hours. Yes, you guessed it, not one person. Incidentally, both our groups have the same number of members.
Even as writers, we are programmed to react to the negative, rather than the positive. What made all these writer flocks to donate to an aggressive threat, rather than a friendly plea?
That answer is simple
We have been programmed over time to only react to aggression. It is why journalists use headlines that stir up hate and fear. No longer are we attracted to kindness and generosity, we completely ignore it.
How worrying to live in a world where hate gains a better response than kindness
Originally published on Medium. For daily writing tips and to support a struggling author please consider becoming a $1 patron on Patreon.