Negativity: A Motivation Killer

Negativity can suck the motivation right out of you.

You can be yourself, all motivated and ready to take action when suddenly some negative person tells you that you can’t do it, that you’re just going to fail and nothing is going to come of it.

Wow. Talk about depressing. Negative people can destroy our beliefs in ourselves & take away the motivation that so many struggle to get in the first place.

The truth is, negativity kills motivation.

Unless you stop it. And it’s easier than you might think.

The first thing you need to do is identify & avoid the negative influences in your life. I’ve done a pretty good job at avoiding negative influences throughout my life, but there was one girl that I met while I was working at McDonalds and we became friends.

We hung out a few times and worked together a lot. Then I quit my job because I was moving 3 hours away to go to university to study business management (majoring in marketing). I ended up having personal issues that completely messed up my first semester, resulting in a 0.2 GPA. Then my second semester I started a business and just stopped caring about university.

I ended up getting a 0.5 GPA (hey, I more than doubled my GPA!), which came with a letter from the dean telling me I was no longer enrolled in fall courses and they didn’t want me to come back unless I completed 8 courses at another institute – that may or may not count towards my degree – first.

Well, I decided to stick with my business and forget university. I remember talking to this friend from McDonalds and telling her that I failed and was working on my business, and she told me that I was stupid & I was either going to end up homeless or back at McDonalds.

At that point I realized I didn’t want to be friends with her anymore. That kind of advice I can do without. So I fairly quickly stopped communicating with her because really, I don’t want friends that don’t think I can succeed.

You don’t have to cut off all ties with anyone who’s negative. I know sometimes your family can be negative for whatever reason – even simply because they’re jealous of you. That doesn’t mean you should avoid your family. It just means you should either talk them and get them to support you, or you should spend less time with them.

If there are negative influences that you aren’t close to, just cut them out of your life. I know it may seem harsh, but just because they don’t want to get anywhere in life that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try to keep you from getting anywhere in life.

The second thing you need to do is surround yourself with positive influences. People who will support and encourage you. People are willing to help you and actually want you to succeed.

Spend as much time with these people as possible. You’ll be amazed at how much more motivation you automatically have from spending time with people who are there to help you and support you rather than bring you down.

This doesn’t just apply to your friends and family that you see in person. This includes people you talk with on the phone, the forums you participate in, the blogs you read and more.

If people are constantly posting negative stuff on Facebook, remove them from your friends list. Most people have so many friends they probably won’t even notice anyways.

Even the news is a huge source of negativity. Did you know that negativity is actually a criteria for determining whether or not something is considered newsworthy? It’s true. People like to watch negative things. That’s why the majority of the time the front page of the newspaper is someone getting killed or some disaster occurring.

That’s why 75% of the news on TV is about hurricanes and tornados and crime and corrupt politics. Negativity sells. So that’s what they put on the news. I know you may like to keep up with what’s happening around the world, but watching the news affects you negatively.

I don’t read newspapers and I don’t watch the news, but the important stuff I hear about from word of mouth. I don’t feel like I’m missing out at all.

It may take some initial work to remove the negativity from your life and it will be a bit of an adjustment, but trust me, it’s definitely worth it.

Start today seeing how you can remove negativity from your life and replace it with positivity. Start changing the way you think and where you spend your time. Become a positive person and spend the majority of your time around positive people.

It is so much easier to motivate yourself when you feel good about yourself and about others and they feel good about you too.

Shawn Horwood is an author, coach, mentor and the creator of the Horwood Motviation System, where you can get personal access to Shawn & discover how to motivate yourself in any situation.

21 Responses to Negativity: A Motivation Killer

  1. Frank says:

    This was very insightful. I never paid much attention to all of the negativity that is portrayed in the media. Probably because I spend most of my time watching Veggie Tales or The Backyardigans with my son. I always thought that a negative frame of mind was the ultimate killer of motivation. It is good to know that it may be just one of the factors and you gave us many more to be aware of. Thanks for sharing. This was powerful stuff.

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  3. Ian says:

    Great advice, but what if all my friends tell me I am the negative influence, and they are trying to cut ties with me?

    I cant cut myself out of my own life.

  4. Khaled says:

    Hi shawn,
    I really enjoyed reading your post.The point you mentioned about avoiding people with negative influence is so important.I had tough time in the past with such kind of people until I figured out how to deal with them to protect myself.They not only drain motivation from you but also destroy your self-confidence.

  5. Khaled says:

    Just ask them what did you do that makes negative influence and try to stop doing it.

  6. Seriously this is wht is going on with me lately, i start with a brilliant idea (as i see it) and start working on it, but then people surrounding me start saying (directly or indirectly) why to spend time on this, its already.
    So my brain starts internally the process of negative thinking, and i spend my time thinking of not to do this and that instead of actually doing things with added value.

    Thus thanks for sharing and i will follow these steps.

  7. Hitesh says:

    This was an excellent post on negative thinking but what if there is no option to get rid of such negative persons as they are very closed ones. for e.g. the persons in your own family or your colleagues at your workplace. What has to be done in such a case.
    People always try to give a negative advice and make me feel inferior. Please advice

  8. sally says:

    How is someone questioning the wisdom of failing out of school negativity? That girl had a point – you just didn’t want to hear it.

  9. Dolphin says:

    It appears that you regard any advice or comment that doesn’t support your aspiration and goal as negative. That’s not a practical approach to success.

  10. Great article,

    You are completely right that negativity saps your energy, motivation and willpower.

    So trying to avoid the negative and focusing on the positive is imperative if you are to succeed.
    What some people miss though, is that they focus so hard on the positive and completely avoid the negative that they don’t even see problems any more.
    Which in some ways are good, but in order to solve a problem it is important to identify it first so a complete ignorance isn’t always the way to go.

    What can be avoided completely though are the factors we cannot control.

    For example the weather, how often have you heard people complain about the weather?
    What difference does it make that I complain about how cold it is, how hot it is or that it is raining?

    None at all, it just saps my energy.

    It is of the greatest importance to try your best not to care about the problems you cannot change and focus all your energy on fixing those you can amend.

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  16. Anon says:

    Most times negativity is not done consciously nor is it a reason to cut people off entirely unless they don’t get it when it is explained to them (their behavior).

    I fall into the negative person category, and I have lost a lot of friends because of it, but no one had the will to tell me what I was doing and I have learned the hard way. One friend told me just recently she had to go to work and she didn’t have the time for my email. I got it. I’m being negative and annoying, so I apologized and will leave her alone and deal with my issues because they are mine to deal with.

    I do feel though that when the shoe is on the other foot and someone needs a shoulder to cry on, I’ve been there for them. The email system makes everything so impersonal nowadays. People are losing their humanity. I now only want friends who want to talk to me on the phone.

    I am working on being more positive because being negative is very draining, but I realize that this will not go away overnight because it is a learned behavior that I used since I was a child to commiserate with myself and others, and I don’t need that behavior now as an adult.

    If you feel someone is being negative, please have the courage to speak up for yourself and those you feel are worth being in a relationship.

  17. sharon says:

    I also do not watch the news or read news papers.I just wish more people felt the same way about the news because I would really love for someone to have a news channel called “Good News” and tell us about all the great things going on in the world because if you look there is lots of wonderful stuff about.
    A few years ago I started making joy or feeling god a daily requirement. Being aware of how I feel, good or bad, at any time has really helped me to eliminate negative feeling from my life. When someone close to me, like my kids are being negative I first try to change the subject, this action also helps them become happier, but if that fails I end the conversation and find something happy to do. (walk my dog). I refuse to participate in negativity when ever I can.

  18. sharon says:

    I think you are right about being able to change learned behavior because all behavior is learned. I started out being more positive by making a list of thing that always make me feel good, I have a few books, some movies, some poetry, some songs, taking a walk, playing fetch with my dog, swimming, ect… on my list and when I do find myself in a downward trend I make myself read my list and pick something that will reverse the trend upwards, after a little practice this gets much easier. For me it is almost automatic now, I realized that I do have a choice about how I feel and I can not feel good and bad at the same time so I try to always choose good.

  19. Asad says:


    Negativity kills indeed. For me it is over and over again. I put so much energy in staying motivated but every 3 weeks or so I get hit by this negative force and it is getting harder to fight it.

    You are talking about minimizing negative influences and maximizing postive influences. But my situation is that I get demotivated when thinking of all the bad things which have happened to me in the past decades.
    What is your advice to deal with these issues once and for all ? Thanks.

    Kind regards,


  20. majorshadow says:

    Song “Time will tell”. A song about cutting ties. Hear @ URL:

  21. Sagehope_green says:

    Oh my this was like reading all about my self. I know I’m a very negative person I try so hard not to be , not so much the words but the expressions and body language  I do is just as bad, I know I’m this way and I really try not to be  I tend to realize it more after I have the negative reaction and I see it in people’s faces now and I’m starting NOW as we speak to change this no more news  and violence on TV even though it is on almost every channel I will choose to turn it.  I have been plagued with negativity all my life and I know it and I will more forward and think of only good and beautiful things!

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