Skip to main content

Picture yourself maneuvering through a bustling cityscape, your mind fixated on a critical destination. Every ‘red light’ — the unpredictable traffic jams, the abrupt roadworks, or even the literal red traffic signals — feels magnified, casting a disruptive shadow on your journey.

But what about the green lights? They often slip past our notice as we traverse the cityscape. And what about the ‘green lights’ that illuminate our life’s avenues and alleyways? Those moments of clear, unobstructed progress towards our goals frequently go unnoticed, quietly weaving into the seamless tapestry of our journey.

Like unnoticed ‘green lights’ on a busy road, we often discount the victories, the moments of accomplishment, the little blessings, focusing instead on the challenges and setbacks — the ‘red lights’.

Today, let’s shift the lens and illuminate the power of ‘green lights’ and the transformative force of gratitude.

In our professional and personal journeys, ‘red lights’ symbolize unforeseen obstacles, triggering stress and pulling us off our intended path. However, how often do we recognize the smooth paths, the unhampered progress, and the numerous micro-goals achieved daily? These underappreciated ‘green lights’ certainly warrant our recognition. The reason why red lights loom larger in our perception is that we are wired to react more quickly to negative experiences – the bad is stronger than the good. In our ancestral environment, split-second reactions to threats were critical for survival, hence our heightened sensitivity to perceived threats or ‘red lights’. Yet it’s equally crucial to appreciate the absence of these threats, the ‘green lights’ that allow us to progress unhindered.

To highlight the gravitational mismatch between perceived threats and wins, or red lights and green lights, let’s look at three scenarios:

  1. John, an entrepreneur, was absorbed in resolving client attrition and logistical issues — his ‘red lights’ – leading to a low morale. In doing so, he overlooked his company’s steady growth and effective team collaboration — his ‘green lights.’
  2. Lisa, a lawyer, was weighed down by long hours and high stress, the ‘red lights’ of her profession, while her successful settlements and client appreciations — the ‘green lights’ — were underappreciated.
  3. Mark, a tech team leader, focused on the targets they were missing, his ‘red lights,’ overshadowing the team’s incremental improvements and commitment to innovation — the ‘green lights’ that warranted attention. Recognizing these ‘green lights’ and expressing gratitude can be transformative.

Here are some practical tips to make this shift:

  1. Gratitude Journal: Note down three daily ‘green lights’ or moments of gratitude.
  2. Gratitude Reminders: Set reminders to acknowledge the ‘green lights’ in your life.
  3. Gratitude Sharing: Share your ‘green lights’ with your team to foster positivity.
  4. Gratitude Meditation: Integrate a short gratitude meditation into your routine.
  5. Gratitude Challenges: Initiate a gratitude challenge at your workplace to nurture a gratitude mindset. By spotlighting the ‘green lights’ in our journey and fostering gratitude, we imbue our professional and personal lives with contentment, resilience, and joy.

Here’s a challenge: For the next week, consciously acknowledge and appreciate your ‘green lights’ and share your experiences.

PS: If you enjoyed this exploration of the idea of bad looming larger than good and of the value of gratitude and want more insights, check out the expanded 2nd Edition of my book, “The MARVEL of Happiness: Principles, Stories, and Lessons For Living Fully“.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience. If you continue using this website, we'll assume that you are happy about that.

Contact Us