5 reasons why positivity works when tackling challenges in business
Positivity can be somewhat maligned in some corners, for its supposed ‘fluffiness’. But scientific research proves that positivity is the fuel of a mindset that can deal with the toughest challenges—great news for startups in particular. Here are 5 of the key ways that positivity is your best friend.
There is such a minefield of cliché and misinformation around the subject of positivity that it’s a wonder you’ve read this far. If you have, then well done! It proves that you look for the positive rather than the negative, which is a major step towards a more happy and successful life. And you’ll probably know also that positivity is a major weapon to help you tackle challenges in business.
The fact is that in many cases, positive thinking, positive psychology, positivity, call it what you will, works. Those who have not explored this subject in any great depth should be aware that positivity is not about being jolly, or thinking all’s well with the world—just a quick glance at the news in any part of the planet would confirm that things are far from unanimously upbeat.
There is also a great trove of literature on this subject, writing by a diverse spectrum of authors, researchers, medical experts and motivational speakers, including Shawn Achor and Brian Tracy, together with clinical psychological experts such as Dr John D Mayer.
The bad times can visit us as frequently as the good. But when you have to deal with those rough days, you can do so much more effectively if you’ve conditioned yourself into a balanced, generally positive, mindset.
It’s important to accept two things. Firstly, the rough periods just don’t last, and they soon fade into insignificance; Secondly, the bad times and the good also emanate from a place—the future—over which you have no control.
We can’t predict exactly what each day will bring, but we can train ourselves to deal with the horrible days as efficiently as the good days, through the balanced and holistic approach that comes with a generally positive outlook. Here are 5 proven ways that positivity can help change your life and career.
1. It Refreshes Your Mind
Even while we sleep, the brain refreshes neuronal pathways and connections that we don’t use so much during the day, so getting a mantra, helps the repetitive reinforcement processes that govern our brains during our waking hours.
A brain conditioned by positive thinking responds to external challenges with more peace of mind, which makes you more clear-sighted and efficient in how you deal with any situation. Think about that the next time that challenges in business seem insurmountable.
According to Psychology Today, one scientifically proven method of refreshing the mind is mindfulness, a state of active, open attention on the present, enabling you to observe your own thoughts and feelings from a distance.
“Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening it to experience.”
2. It puts Pep in Your Step
“Positivity… benefit your long-term health…”
Have you ever noticed the body language and physical movement of people who are generally positive? They’re more upright, agile, and move with a controlled, energetic purpose.
Think about the flip-side of this coin—the person who is negative or burdened with stress: the hunched shoulders, the sluggish movements. Literally, such people need a weight lifted from their shoulders.
Anything you do to reduce the effect of stress hormones on the body is a big plus. Stress hormones are released from centres in the brain that are activated by negativity. This a flood of hormones that, if unchecked, can lead to long term malady and serious, even terminal, illness.
However, the good news is there for all to see in a study by Ryan Howell, Margaret Kern and Sonja Lyubomirsky published in Health Psychology Review as long ago as 2007 found, “well-being can directly bolster immune functioning, and buffer the impact of stress”. So, not only does positivity help you meet significant challenges in business; it also benefits your long-term health.
3. It’s A Confidence Booster
Hand in hand with sharper thinking and a more healthy body, positive thinking has numerous benefits for your self-confidence.
Writing in Psychology Today, Neel Burton MD suggests that positive thinking is an important means out of the downward spiral experienced by people with long-term low self-esteem, who generally see the world as a hostile place, and themselves as its victim.
Training and development guru Brian Tracy famously remarked: “People with high self-esteem are the most desired, and desirable, people in society.” Your goal is to feel that special.
This can only come through positive psychology. Once you turn this particular key, that is when the apparently significant challenges in business can be put in proper perspective.Buy it here >
4. It Strengthens Relationships
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Positivity is absolutely not emotional intelligence (and for confirmation of this, just read the remarks by emotional intelligence expert Dr John D Mayer here)… however, positivity is one of the many attributes of people with a high EI quotient.
It forms part of the external ‘social relationship management’ that is a key element in truly effective emotional intelligence (the other being management of your own emotions and feelings).
It’s generally accepted that positive behaviour and actions will attract people, and occurrences, that chime with such behaviour. At the very least, it leads to all sorts of perhaps hitherto untapped and unexperienced kindnesses and collaborations, which in turn, can lead to previously unimagined successes and achievements.
This social benefit from positivity has been verified by a study published in Psychological Science, showing that “positive emotions, positive social connections, and physical health influence one another in a self-sustaining upward-spiral dynamic”. In other words, positivity has effects that radiate up and out. It is not limited to helping you face challenges in business—but helps you live life to the full.
5. Positivity is Attainable For Anyone
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For anyone who wants to have a more positive outlook, and effective tools for tackling challenges in business and life, psychologist Shawn Achor has demonstrated in his research and in bestselling books such as those above, not just why positivity is so important, but just how easy it is.
Here he is also, in a fascinating TED Talk that is a must-watch video for anyone facing challenges in business that they’re getting a bit stuck on.
Achor’s work is based on years of research in universities, schools and organisations in various countries, and the good news for those seeking an effective way to tackle challenges in business is that Achor insists the brain can be rewired to work more optimistically and successfully.
In a simple 21-day program, outlined briefly and comprehensively by Achor during his talk, he insists that it’s possible not only to create “ripples of positivity”, but also to unleash “a revolution”.
In recent years, Achor has even taken to unleashing this revolution in thinking among minds of a very young age. One of his most recent books is Ripple’s Effect.
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Achor partnered with his sister Amy Blankson and illustrator Cecilia Rebora for The Mom’s Choice Gold Award-winning book , which uses the story of a dolphin in an aquarium to convey the findings of his research towards children’s mind’s, and enable the next generation to harness the power of positive psychology.