Today we’re going to talk about the Science of Positivity. One of my personal (and business) core values is the pursuit of continual learning, growth, and development.
To help do this and maximize time, I listen to A LOT of audiobooks and podcasts. One of the authors I’ve been diving into for the past 5 years or so is Shawn Achor.
He’s a bit of a phenom. Harvard professor/researcher, multiple bestselling author, TED speaker, corporate consultant, etc. His area of study and publication is the science of happiness. This field has been booming for many years in labs and research journals. Shawn, for me, was a key person to catapult this knowledge into the mainstream. It allowed me to apply the principles to business and personal performance.
The thing I love about his work is that it puts rigorous scientific study to an often nebulous topic. The great news is that the research he and other trailblazers in the positive psychology field (such as Martin Seligman) have done strongly supports what I’ve known anecdotally for decades and observed repeatedly with clients.
While there is far too much information to cover in a short post, I want to share a couple of key concepts. Hopefully, they will help you reframe your perspective around happiness and its role in the success/performance equation.
First, happiness is not a destination.
It’s a specific mindset about the journey you are on in life and it directly impacts how you perceive and respond to circumstances in your life. This is the science of positivity.
Happiness comes from a person’s ability to have meaning in their life and work towards a worthy ideal, to have some autonomy in how the work is done, and to feel you have control over your decisions.
This is the primary reason my coaching programs begin with helping clients tap into their “WHY”. At the basic level, understanding why you want to accomplish a particular goal is important. It’s even more valuable to get crystal clear why you are on the overall journey. You should connect to it on an emotionally charged level.
From experience, I can honestly say that this point is at the heart of why so many people struggle to reach their goals and to find happiness throughout their life.
The second point I want to discuss is the power of being what Shawn Achor calls a “positive node”. There are many other names for this, but the concept is simple.
Networked systems and people are extremely powerful. Unfortunately, many people or “nodes” in that system are negative, and that infects everything around it like a virus.
For far too many people in corporate and social networks, this is the reality of daily life. The great news is that you have the ability to change the system.
What few people understand and even fewer put into practice, is the fact that positivity spreads the same way and improves the performance of the system.
The great thing is that when someone chooses to become a positive node, it not only improves the overall system, it has an incredibly positive impact on the individual themselves.
Here are 3 simple steps you can take to improve your health, happiness, and performance TODAY:
- Do something nice for someone else (bonus if it’s done anonymously)
- Ask yourself this question: “What drives me to get up each day, and to contribute my best self to the world.”
- Get some exercise. Preferably outdoors. Next to love, exercise is the best drug available. Plus, it’s much easier to manage the doses and effects! 🙂
Research consistently shows that when we do something nice for someone else to help them, lift them up, or simply provide a genuine compliment, we make them happier, healthier, and more productive, but we also get these benefits ourselves! This is the science of positivity.
That’s a pretty great deal.
It’s also why I wrote this post today. My top mid-range goal is to positively transform the lives of 1 million people globally by 2025.
Writing content like this so people like you can take action on it, and spread the positive information to your network will be a big step towards that goal.
If you want to learn more about the effects of positive mindsets and habits, our book series is for you! Check out The Fitness Curveball, where we talk about the 4 Pillars of Performance. Mindset, Habits, Movement, and Fuel. Get your copy today by clicking the picture below!