Some things stick in the brain, and nag at you.
A month or two ago I was sitting in the front seat of a taxi in Sofia (Bulgaria), when I caught a snippet of conversation from the back. All I heard was the phrase ‘perpetual optimism’, and that was it. Nothing further reached through the traffic noise. I glanced at the driver, but he didn’t seem that talkative (perhaps someone warned him), so I pondered instead.
How concise can you get? A phrase that manages to deliver more in two words than most paragraphs.
(sometimes called a meme, this post is worth reading too – after this one of course)
It was memorable enough to resurface in my brain through fog of the following morning. It must be important, somehow. Foolishly on the flight home I mentioned I might blog about it, and so here we are on an unintended quest.
What do we know about being positive?
Unfortunately for me, I didn’t know a lot. There are lots of books telling us to be positive, and all the riches in the world will be ours, but it’s always a bit broad and unspecific – to someone who deals with specific words for a living at any rate. What does positivity actually mean?
Searching through the kindlesphere, I found a more thoughtful read by Psychology Scientist Barbara Fredrickson called positivity. A psychology person, in a new field apparently only invented in 1999, it seems that after scientists studied depression and anxiety for hundreds of years, it occurred to one of them that it may be generally connected to happiness. But enough of this snarky observation, on with the story.
It must be have been incredibly difficult to be scientific about ‘feelings’, but I was pretty impressed with the results.
(A picture of Google allows this post to be on a blog about lead generation)
Because I’ve been trained to think about the customer journey, I’ve re-ordered these elements of positivity described in the book.
Hope, Interest, Amusement, Inspiration, Joy, Love, Pride, Serenity, Gratitude, Awe (or awesome as someone I know is fond of saying)
I personally think that being positive is a journey. Hope is before everything.
Do we know the outcome?
Amongst other things, it has been proven that being positive is very good for your health, as long as it is heartfelt and ‘real’, yep, ok, tick. More interestingly,
compared to people in the other conditions, participants in experiments who experience positive emotions show heightened levels of creativity, inventiveness, and “big picture” perceptual focus.
Getting stuff done
This post went from being drafted on my personal blog, to being promoted to the professional one about lead generation. My experience in completely different scenarios, with various shades of marketers, entrepreneurs and sales people. It is crystal clear that positivity gets things done, and negativity stalls people. Literally, work stops.
Without hope, nobody in the world is going to start anything. With it, mountains are moved pretty quickly.
Marketing, by default, is the practice of being really positive about things. But it requires positivity to come up with ideas, to write enthusiastically, to inspire confidence.
Can we change?
Of course, it’s a variable. We oscillate. But here’s the result of my unintended quest.
If we decide that we are positive, then it happens. Just like if we decide to smile then, eventually, we forget we are pretending. The effects can be amazing. Take a negative scenario that is coming up, be positive and then take notice of how people react – I did. It inspires people to change, and makes people more likely to take action (take a note blog copy ninjas).
I believe that we all genuinely want to be happy, someone just needs to go first. I’m sure there is plenty of advice around, but for me, the most important thing was, to decide it is important.
Looking through positivity tinted glasses
It’s been a couple of months, and I have found that actively taking notice of positivity has a really positive effect in itself. I realised that the people I liked most were all pretty positive, and some of them refused to be negative in any single sentence. I hadn’t noticed that before – perhaps they know this already, and I’ve spent all these years being uneducated. But then, it was only invented in 1999, so I don’t feel too bad.
Let’s all use less negative words. Particularly ban the ones that sound like “problem”.
According to our scientist Barbara, it is all connected, there is a golden ratio of 3-1. When we reach that ratio of positive versus negative reactions, then it builds on itself, spiralling to a point where we are naturally resilient.
Onwards and Upwards. I’m proud of this post.