Mark wrote, “Keep these coming Rosa. I need all the help I can get with being more positive. Wish I knew how you do this.”
Here’s my little secret, the one I don’t talk about much:
I have a skeptical side I work at keeping in check, and it can make me suspect that I am not a person who naturally and instinctively leans toward the positive view instead of the negative one. At first glance, I can see half empty instead of seeing half full. The argument can rightfully be made, that my ‘leaning half empty’ goes counter to everything else I teach about ALOHA, for ALOHA is all full! I usually don’t talk about that leaning because I don’t like believing it. I loathe the thought it might be instinctive, and I don’t want to give it my attention. So I simply choose not to acknowledge it much. I won’t allow pessimism to have any of my energy.
Catch and Release
Sometimes I slip, like all human beings do. Chances are, my slips are when you will read a rant here because I’m bothered by something, and I want shift or change; simply letting it go isn’t enough. I’ll be okay with my human frailty, telling myself I have to release the rant now that it escaped its confines, but productively please; no bitchy complaining or whining allowed! I work on turning my rant into a positive action of some kind, or at least a more useful one.
Here’s my bigger secret, and the one I love to talk about, so it will no longer be a secret at all:
“Being positive” is a Palena ‘ole conviction: It is Key Concept #9 on Unlimited Capacity. Think of our PALENA ‘OLE concept as the MWA version of “Seek and ye shall find.” What’s especially great about this version, is that it comes with positive expectancy, for PALENA ‘OLE is basically about abundance. When we seek, we’re expecting to find something more, and something good.
From our 9 Key Concepts Resource Page:
Key 9. PALENA ‘OLE:
Palena ‘ole is the Hawaiian concept of unlimited capacity. This is your exponential growth stage, and about seeing your bigger and better leadership dreams come to fruition. Think “Legacy” and “Abundance” and welcome the coaching of PONO into your life as the value it is. We create our abundance by honoring human capacity; physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual. When we seek inclusive, full engagement and optimal productivity, any scarcity will be banished. Growth is welcomed and change is never feared; enthusiasm flourishes. PALENA ‘OLE is an everyday attitude in an ‘OHANA IN BUSINESS, assuming that growth and abundance is always present as an opportunity. Given voice, PALENA ‘OLE sounds like this: “Why settle for ‘either/or’ when we can go for the ‘and’ and be better?”
We all work on gaining a positive attitude, me included. I think that labeling ourselves either optimists or pessimists tends toward the extreme side of the scale, and can often be unrealistic. Better to ask ourselves, how do I move along that scale?
My positivity happens when I go on the hunt, actively and deliberately looking for better and best, and leaving everything else behind, especially that drag-and-drain of negativity. My Palena ‘ole conviction gets easier and easier to have, for when I look for better, I do manage to find it! Writing then, and speaking, becomes a deeper exploration of that discovery. I shift to the values in my Palena ‘ole stronghold: ‘IMI OLA, PONO, and KA LĀ HIKI OLA most of all.
Hō‘imi and Value-Verbing
This is what we call “value-verbing” in Managing with Aloha: We intentionally practice our value-driven actions.
My preferred Hawaiian word for this intentional choosing of the positive is Hō‘imi. Short and sweet, Hō‘imi holds a lot of kaona (hidden meaning) in my mana‘o (my strongest beliefs and convictions):
Hō is another form of Ho‘o — make something happen. Hō is the grammatical preference before another word or phrase which begins with i or ‘i.
‘Imi means to look for something, and I think of ‘imi-looking as actively hunting for what you seek. ‘Imi is looking for something in a purposeful way connected to ‘IMI OLA, your best possible life.
Hō‘imi has those two i’s in it, reminding me that looking for better is completely up to me, and within my self-control. No laziness, no excuses.
Thus Hō‘imi delivers value-alignment in my personal language of intention: I do believe we can speak of what we want to come true. It’s an important first step in having that ability all Alaka‘i Managers value so highly: ‘Walking the talk’ by honoring the ALOHA of our own good word.
As Carl Jung said, “Trust that which gives you meaning and accept it as your guide.”
Believe in your Biology
You’re here, in our Managing with Aloha community, because you believe in the capacity of your Aloha Spirit. Now believe in your biology as a human being.
You can Hō‘imi too, and much more easily than you might think. Being human has a lot of perks, one of them being that your brain is wired to help you. This is very comforting knowledge!
I’ve learned that I can ‘believe in my biology’ instead of my suspected nature, because scientist after scientist will tell us so, especially those in the branch of neuroscience concerned with the brain. What they love explaining to us is this: While we may fool ourselves into accepting multi-tasking, there really isn’t any such thing as “multi-thinking.” The biological fact of the matter is, we only focus-think on one thought at a time. When we pull off our multi-tasking, one task definitely got done better than the other: It got our primarily directed thinking as we did it, whereas the other task only got our auto-pilot in going through repetitive motions we have already learned and committed to memory. When we multi-task, we do one of those tasks without thinking about it.
If we focus on Hō‘imi, and we’re consciously and deliberately looking for better and best, we’ll effectively kick any negatives out of what our brain directs our attention to — negatives like those thoughts which might be predisposed to flesh out “yeah, but” thinking, “can’t” instead of “can,” and any worst-case scenarios. Our conscious thinking will assure that we don’t throw all caution to the wind, however our hō‘imi intention will look for better, and steer us away from negativity and pessimistic obstacles.
What’s wrong with negativity? It drains energy instead of building it up and fortifying our reserves like positivity does. Behind every “can’t” is a won’t. However, “I will” is the positive expectancy of your PALENA ‘OLE conviction, and your Hō ‘imi intention. The evidence is quite clear: The successful Alaka‘i Manager stewards the workplace which thrives within positive human energies.
My best possible life (i.e. living the value of ‘IMI OLA) has to be filled with more positives than negatives; it’s the only thing that makes sense to me as celebrating my spirit of ALOHA. So that’s what I choose when I think about it.
And that’s the biggest non-secret of them all:
We human beings have the power of proactive choice.
We get to choose how we think, whether positively or negatively. Choose ‘IMI OLA, and the seeking of your best possible life, for it’s a value which naturally wants what’s best for you. And trust in this brain-wired, ALOHA-driven certainty: When you look for good, and you look for better and best, those are the things you find. Once found, it’s good you can add into your life, your work, your reputation and legacy.
Postscript and MAHALO:
This may sound familiar to you, for it’s a fresh combination of several articles which previously appeared on TalkingStory.org. Repeating is helpful in learning, however I wanted to make a stronger connection to PALENA ‘OLE this time, for it is so important in our conceptual construct as the MWA ‘OHANA IN BUSINESS. I also think Hō‘imi is one of the most powerful words you can add to your value-verbing vocabulary as an Alaka‘i Manager: Start with it in your own self-coaching, and you will experience how ‘looking for better and for best’ will strengthen you — you’ll feel it.
I would also like to extend a warm Mahalo to Joanna Paterson and Ulla Hennig for their part in shaping my more culturally inclusive and universal perspective in writing about this topic: Joanna lives in Scotland and Ulla lives in Germany, and both were leaders in the Joyful Jubilant Learning project who generously shared their mana‘o with us. We’ve had several great conversations about optimism coupled with realistic expectations, pessimism as a beneficial caution, and open-minded thinking.