The Plus Side

The Plus Side

Jan. 10, 2020

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My entire life, coaches have berated players (and others).

That’s what they do.

Turn on your TV. See that coach yelling at the player or official or other coach at close range?

Hear how much the announcers love it?

Screaming at someone to change behavior is what we’re used to.

Players who were berated constantly even give interviews saying how the screaming was fine.

“I mean, it turned out pretty well, right?” says the now-successful player.

Shrieking bully-tactics are just good coaching. That’s how you get the job done.

But is it, though?

Compare that with how Pixar does things.

You know Pixar. The animated movie studio that’s valued at over $7 billion.

Pixar doesn’t believe in screaming.


Because screaming judgments kill the most important thing:


What’s considered the most important business idea of all time? Adapt or die.

How do you adapt?

By being creative.

That’s also how you come up with multi-million dollar movie ideas, a beautiful game that wins 20 Majors, or an original iPod.

If someone is going to submit an idea, what will kill that idea dead in its tracks?

Harsh criticism.

I’ll never do that again.

If someone is going to submit an idea, what will help that idea turn into a worldwide blockbuster?

Positivity. Acceptance. Making the submitter look good.

That was fun. 

Pixar calls this “plussing.”

Plussing means that no idea is criticized, no matter what.

They hear an idea and say, “Yes, and…” After the “and” comes possible suggestions. But only in addition to the original idea.

Or a higher-up might say, “Sure, and what if we did…”

The submitter never gets shot down, never gets screamed at.

It’s okay if the first idea is a dud. That will eventually show itself to be true. Most ideas are duds anyway.

But Pixar’s secret is that they cultivate the next idea. If everyone is plussed, the ideas will keep coming. And somewhere in those upcoming, kindly-treated ideas is The Big One.

Yell at a player, and maybe she’ll never do that again.

But she’ll also never have a chance at The Big One. The Big Breakthrough that takes her all the way to the top.

The screaming keeps her quiet, scared, and obedient. Those aren’t the elements of a champion.

Or a blockbuster.

So, instead of yelling at co-workers, players, or friends, try accepting.

Instead of “That’s dumb,” try “Yes, and…”

The coaches would stop screaming if they only knew the power of the plus side


My book is called The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.