The Adaptive Mindset Model

Humans are hard-wired to focus on negative, threatening information.  There is a mechanism at work in our brains, called the Negativity Bias, It causes unproductive thoughts that limit our performance and cause us stress.  Fortunately, these fall into distinctive patterns that, with practice, can be recognized and interrupted.

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What are the 6 Negativity Bias Patterns?

The Negativity Bias is a core source of our stress and is the reason we have such difficulty adapting to change and responding productively to adversity.  Learners receive a profile that identifies their Negativity Trap and provides feedback on the Resilience Skills that they can practice to prevent their Negativity Bias from triggering or recover when it has already been triggered.

Negativity Bias: Comparing

Interpreting events using unrealistic standards. Focusing on others who seem to do better.


  • My colleagues are more talented than me.
  • Our competitors have better products than us.

Negativity Bias: Magnifying

Magnifying the negatives and minimizing the positives. Thinking about how things should be, rather than on what is.


  • I got lucky with my successes, so they don’t count.
  • I get along with a couple of my co-workers, but most people don’t like me.
  • I should be doing better in my job. If I don’t then I’m a failure.

Negativity Bias: Catastrophizing

Believing that what has happened or will happen will be awful. Wondering about “what if” something happens.


  • If I do poorly on this project, my career will be ruined.
  • I got laid off and will never work again.

Negativity Bias: Blaming

Blaming others for negative events and not taking appropriate responsibility.


  • This project failed because the vendor messed up.
  • My presentation was a disaster and it’s my co-workers’ fault.

Negativity Bias: Internalizing

Unrealistically blaming yourself and not accepting that some events are out of your control. Giving yourself a negative label.


  • This project failed and it was entirely my fault.
  • I’m the reason why the department is struggling.

Negativity Bias: Assuming

Assuming the worst without evidence. Thinking that single negative events apply to your entire life.


  • This happens a lot to me; I fail most of the time.
  • I’m not going to ask for a promotion because I won’t get it.

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Whitepaper: Overcoming our Human Nature

Research shows that 91% of the things we worry about don’t happen. And when our fears do come true, most of the time things work out better than we expected. The negativity bias causes us to expend energy worrying about things that almost never happen when we would be better served using that energy productively. We shouldn’t always expect the worst. This whitepaper explores those negative thinking patters and helps you change them.  It will make you more adaptable to change and more productive.

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