The title is a quote from Einstein, and it’s true. In addition to thinking it’s better to approach matters from a positive perspective, I think he is getting at being open to ideas. When someone has an idea, some people jump on the bandwagon too fast and others pick the idea apart until nothing is left. Neither of these actions or reactions is helpful. Instead, new ideas should be approached with an equal amount of positive skepticism and thoughts on how to make the idea a success.

By positive skepticism, I mean you bring negative thoughts in a constructive manner to try to work through what you see as issues. The possible results are you can or can’t work through the issues, which may or may not put the idea to rest. There is another possible result, which is the idea is tweaked based on constructive dialogue and these changes can be small to large, but the idea or its original spirit remains viable.

Each of us has the ability to control whether we approach an idea in a positive or negative manner. Sometimes how we approach an idea has nothing to do with the idea itself. Our approach may be based on the messenger, how the idea was communicated, or some other issue that shades our consideration of the idea.

After many of my own failures in providing constructive feedback over time, I feel I am usually able to discern whether my initial thoughts on an idea are how I honestly feel or because of some other external factor. This is a work in progress, and is an example of why thinking before speaking is important. When I have an immediately negative internal response to an idea, I try to determine why and whether how I feel is based on the idea or something else. The point is being first to respond doesn’t win you an award, so thinking through a new idea provides the opportunity for a more thoughtful and honest response.

Don’t be the person with a problem for every solution. Be thoughtful and constructive. This can mean leaving your ego to the side and supporting the success of others. It also can be the difference of you receiving thoughtful and constructive feedback next time you put yourself out there to others with a new idea.