Finding Good Dragons

Updated: Nov 13



Compliance at its core is about contending with risk. For the most part this has taken the form of addressing the negative side to prevent such things as financial loss, but also the loss of life, quality, reputation or other things that we care about. However, this is only half the story and perhaps a result of only using half of our brain. In many ways we have focused on the bad dragons and failed to see and realize the benefits of the good ones. The way we think about risk is a significant factor to our effectiveness at contending with uncertainty. What we now know is that our brains are wired in such a way that we see threats easier and earlier than we see opportunities (Thinking, Fast and Slow - Daniel Kahneman). Finding and pursuing opportunities requires tapping into another part of brain which can only be accessed when we slow down and reflect on our situation. This is difficult to do when our lives are reactive, governed by the tyranny of the urgent. However if we do not pursue the positive effects of uncertainty we will not create value; and at most only protect the value we currently have, although that too may not last. The first step to finding good dragons is developing a habit to notice them.

Our Brain is Teflon for the Positive and Velcro for the Negative Conor Neil in one of his videos posts talks about how we can take steps to improve our ability to see the positive side of life. This ability is essential for our own happiness and as it turns out also for our pursuit of opportunities. From his blog post Conner Neil writes: "There is a saying that I heard recently from Elsa Punset... "Our brain is teflon for the positive and velcro for the negative" It is a powerful metaphor. It is solidly grounded in psychological research. In good relationships the ratio of positive to negative comments is 7:1.  1 negative comment about a friend needs 7 positive statements to balance out... because our brain is so much more tuned into anything that risks our safety." I encourage you to watch his video (6 minutes) and try his 21 Day challenge. This may help you develop the habit of seeing good things in your life and who knows you might see a good dragon as well. You might even start to better see opportunities to improve your compliance.

Here is a list of other articles dealing with the positive side of risk:

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