A Positive Expectancy for 2010

I love the phrase positive expectancy. LOVE it.

Bringing this forward to our 2010 attentions: An archived oldie-but-goodie from March of 2008, and freshly edited for our January Ka lā hiki ola (our dawning of a new day optimism), and Kukupa‘u, our agreed-to enthusiasm.

The original title was, Listening with an Open, Positive Mindset and those of you who were involved with our Ruzuku Listening Challenge back in December may draw some other parallels to it as well.

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I have been listening to the audio-book version of Know Can Do!: Put Your Know-How Into Action By Ken Blanchard, Paul J Meyer, Dick Ruhe.

From the publisher’s description of it,

Know Can Do! is a teaching parable in the tradition of Ken Blanchard’s bestselling business books. It tells the story of a well known author who is troubled by the gap between what people know: all the good advice they’ve digested intellectually from books and seminars, and what they actually do. Seeking a way to close this learning-doing gap, the author sets out on a journey to find a solution. He soon meets a legendary businessman named Carl Hesse, who has discovered the secrets of putting knowledge into action. Carl teaches the author the three reasons people don’t make the leap from knowing to doing and The key to overcoming these roadblocks.

One of the three reasons/roadblocks is something the authors call negative filtering, and they explain why (in their view) most of us will first receive new ideas from others through a negative default that we get from a young age. Whether or not you agree with that tendency toward the negative first, I do like the antidote they offer to combat and remedy this tendency: “Listening with an open, positive mindset.”

Here are the pointers they describe as this type of listening:


~ with no prejudice or preconceived ideas

~ with a learning attitude that is excited about new information

~ with positive expectancy

~ with a pen in hand for taking notes

~ with a desire to not only learn what is being said, but what it can trigger in your imagination

~ and with a “How can I use this?” attitude which will lead you toward action

In particular I like that phrase of positive expectancy, for it is an assumption very much in harmony with aloha, and the expectation that others have such bountiful good to offer us. It is that good that we should listen for, trusting that it is there to be discovered: For 2010, with Aloha

The key thesis of the book is that spaced repetition of focused learning (a “less will be more” approach versus information gluttony) is the trick to our retaining what we learn, converting our learning into actions made personally sticky and inculcated into company cultures.

In the spirit of the book’s coaching, this way to listen will be one of my choices for “spaced repetition” for I can see how powerful this discipline with learning can be: It can help you become a possibility thinker and one who creates continually.

Everyone loves a good listener, but beyond being polite and respectful we can truly have a sincerely curious and fascinated interest in others, an interest groomed by this positive expectancy that we can always learn something from every conversation we have.

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For more on the wonder of positive thinking, visit the archives for Believe in your Biology!


  1. says

    A series of links from your blog about Undercover Boss unexpectedly led me to this piece on Talking Story.
    I LOVE the term “positive expectancy,” too!
    In training for my master’s in counseling, I learned three tenets to effective listening: be authentic, be non-judgmental, and hold every person in unconditional positive regard.
    If I could strive to include positive expectancy as part of my daily routine, with every person I interact with, I believe that the interactions would take on a deeper meaning.
    In fact, if I operate with aloha in every way, then by definition, I would be connecting with the beauty and spirit in every living thing.
    Thank you for helping me to remember this powerful affirmation!

    • Rosa Say says

      Aloha Angela, so glad you found your way here, and I do hope we hear more from you, for your positive spirit truly leaps off this written page!

      I like your phrase of “unconditional positive regard” as well, and will be weaving it into our Language of Intention with “positive expectancy” for I think that expectancy does have to be unconditional – as Aloha teaches us too, to give first to get it shared back with us.

      You may enjoy reading this post as well: Become a Better Listener with these 5 Skills. It was written as a companion posting to our Ruzuku alpha, however it has some thought triggers in it too. Positive expectancy is part of the very first skill I list there: Learn to broadcast the signals of your Listening Mode. We set a stage for listening, one that others must feel they can comfortably walk on to, and share with us.


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