The 4 to 1 Rule Will Change Your Life

July 2, 2011 I decided to adopt the 4 to 1 rule. I challenge you to do the same. Every negative comment requires four positive comments.

I know what some of you are thinking; that’s impossible.

Let me clarify. Make as many negative comments as you like. The challenge is following every negative with four positives.

My first efforts at the 4 to 1 rule were mediocre. I’m good for 1.5 positive statements before a “yeah but” emerges. The “yeah but” added four more positives and took me to six before finishing the first cycle. I have a ways to go but I’m going for it.

I’m finding ways to positively state negatives so I don’t have to come up with four positives. For example, “You did that wrong” becomes “I’m confident you can do better.”

Why is this important:

Words are rudders; they set and maintain the direction of life. Positive words take you where you want to go.

A real challenge:

Would you like a real challenge? Apply the 4 to 1 rule to your thoughts as well. Every negative thought is answered with four positive thoughts.

We need bumper stickers, tee shirts, bill boards, and tattoos.

Another clarification; negative is negative. Include true negative statements in the 4 to 1 rule. “That ass just cut me off, is a true negative statement that calls for four positives statements.

Simple positives:

The simplest positive is an expression of gratitude. When you struggle to find a positive be thankful for something, anything. Don’t connect the positive with the negative; just say anything positive.

Two side benefits:

People enjoy positive people.

You force yourself, in addition, to focus more on things you want rather than things you don’t want. You become a “yes” person rather than a “no” person.


Follow-up post: See the Good, Say the Good – Another Strategy for Developing a Positive Attitude.


How are you building a positive orientation toward life?

Can you take the 4 to 1 challenge?


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