One Ratio to Rule Them All

Despite our best efforts, we are usually unable to separate a statement’s impact from the source. This is known as shooting the messenger, and we are usually guilty of it, both anecdotally and as found in 2019 by Blunden and Liu in a paper called “Shooting the Messenger.” You’re stuck between a rock and a hard place unless you can harness what is known as the Losada ratio.

The Losada ratio is the ratio of how much positive feedback is required to lessen the sting of negative feedback. This is also known as the critical positivity ratio and specifically puts forth a ratio of positive to negative emotions that separate people who “languish” versus “flourish.” In a 2005 study by Losada and Frederickson called “Positive Affect and the Complex Dynamics of Human Flourishing,” the researchers studied communications within a set of businesses to examine the relationship between positivity and performance. They found that a greater amount of positivity was highly correlated to better performance and higher rates of success, especially in the presence of negativity.

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