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Drains And Radiators


Drains and Radiators - I came across this expression many moons ago and I thought it was a wonderful way of summing up how some people are. Let’s face it, we meet all sorts and because we are all unique we react differently to different people.

So why is it that some people you meet can positively invigorate you while others can leave you feeling like your life blood has been drained away. Well it works like this - some people are like DRAINS. Let me describe them for you; negative, listless doom goblins (or mood hoovers as I have heard them called) who relish bad news and when you ask them how they are they will respond with their shoulders slumped, eyelids drooped “Well let me tell you … I feel really … bad!” and then they will give you a graphic blow by blow account of all their woes and feelings of impending doom!

Other people are like RADIATORS - full of warmth and vitality. We feel positively energized by them. They appear bright and radiant, look you in the eye and when you ask them how they are, they smile and tell you something positive. People who are great examples of radiators don’t dump their negativity on to other people and remain positive and strong in the face of adversity. They don’t bury their hands in the sand and they do face their challenges however they talk constructively about overcoming problems and finding solutions. It is, as I have come to appreciate over the years, a much kinder and more generous way to live because of how negativity can affect others.

Every year, I am invited to deliver motivational talks on P&O cruise ships on the subject of positive living and how we can improve our overall wellbeing by being happy, healthy, positive and goal-orientated. A couple of years ago, a gentleman came up to me after one of my talks , looked me straight in the eye with a big smile on his face and said “I thoroughly enjoyed your talk and agree with everything you say – how old do you think I am? Go on guess.”

I looked at him, his smile, his demeanor, his posture and genuinely guessed at late sixties. He took me absolutely by surprise when he responded “I am eighty six and I’m a radiator because no matter how I feel, if anyone asks me how I am, I tell them I feel good and happy to be alive and then I tell myself the same thing and then I am!” What a fantastic attitude and a glowing example of radiator behavior!

Having worked with some highly successful and inspiring people it is easy to see what sets them aside and makes them so special. It is their ability to turn a potentially negative situation into a positive one. They are also acutely aware of their attitude and how it affects others around them. They take responsibility for their NAGs - Negative Attitude Germs!

Let me ask you a question. If you had a really bad cold or flu would you walk over to someone and sneeze in their face? Hopefully not! So let me ask you another question. Have you ever had a bad day when someone or something has annoyed or upset you and you have felt the need to get it off your chest and tell someone else all about it? I am sure that we have all been guilty of that from time to time.

You are, in effect, spreading your NAGs – Negative Attitude Germs. And they really are contagious!

You may have noticed that when you are with someone who is suffering from a physical or emotional problem, you feel bad too. It’s often described as catching their emotion. Researchers have observed this actually happening in real time in the brain, using an advanced MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine. It shows the brain of Person A reflects activity in the same area as Person B when they are in close proximity. The scientific term for this is neural mirroring. This does, therefore, point out the danger of hanging around negative, pessimistic people if you prefer to be positive and optimistic. You can “catch” their NAGs just by being in close proximity.

So given the choice I am sure that you can clearly see the benefits of being a radiator and here are few tips to help you on your way!

How to be a Radiator

• Take personal responsibility for everything you think, feel and do.
• Get up and get going each day with an attitude of gratitude for what you have
• Don’t dwell too long on negatives – focus on what you can do to turn them around
• Listen to your internal dialogue and make sure that your internal voice is having a positive chat with you
• When you llook in the mirror - Tell yourself that you are feeling good.
• Be positive when you respond to other people
• Try not to infect others with your NAGs
• Smile at people and look them in the eye
• Look at how you can turn your problems into opportunities
• If you feel low – Visualise something that makes you happy
• Keep a happy image with to focus on as a personal pick you up
• Live each day how you would like to repeat it
• Leave each person with the best possible impression of you