How many times have you heard in the media recently that the FTSE 100 has suffered a catastrophic daily fall? These stories are ‘true’ and factual but they don’t reflect the complete picture. During that same period the Footsie has also seen some spectacular rises; on September 27th it rose by 4% and on Wednesday October 5th it rose 3.2%. Did you hear this in the media? True the market is down overall, but if we are only presented with the ‘bad’ news our perception is distorted – we start to believe things are worse than they are.
Why would the media do this? Why would we do the same in our work and personal lives? Criticising our children and our colleagues, moaning about the Government and so on. Possibly because we are trained from an early age to pay attention to problems to the extent that it becomes a habit. We filter things so effectively that we can’t see the brilliant things going on right in front of eyes.
Positive psychology sets out to re-balance the picture. People are encouraged to recognise what is working in their lives; to be grateful for the good things that happen to them; to look for satisfiers (things you are content with) rather than chasing maximisers (the biggest, the most expensive, the latest model); and to help others recognise and celebrate the positives in their lives.
This is free and immediate; you can start today and it won’t cost you a penny. And even though it sounds childishly simple it will bring you amazing benefits. What Positive Psychologists have discovered is that if you can raise the ratio of positive experiences over negative experiences happening in your life above a 3 to 1 tipping point, you will feel energised, creative and fulfilled. I have observed this with a number of coaching clients and experienced it myself. Whilst the actions to achieve this, may in themselves seem insignificant, the cumulative effect can be staggering.
There are two key benefits. The first is that having a ‘credit balance’ of above 3 to 1 will enable you to access a state of flow – and access it on a regular basis. This is when you achieve peak performance and peak experience simultaneously. You achieve amazing results in a state of effortlessness.
I believe this happens because accessing a positive state eradicates most of the drag and resistance in your life, enabling the flow of positive energy to sweep you towards you goal. I am working with a client at the moment whose productivity has shot up at a time when she has also found more time for her personal life and family, whilst also feeling calmer and more energised. She has also received the most amazing spontaneous compliments from colleagues and clients.
The second key benefit is that this positive state seems to have a magnetic, sticky quality to it. It appears not only to be a product of success and health, it creates them. I have noticed this with several of my career coaching clients recently. My expectation was that they would feel better once they found a new role or opportunity. However with many they began to feel more positive and optimistic, through getting fit, putting themselves first for a change and creating a clear vision of their new future – and then the brilliant new opportunity presented itself.
Why not give it a try, look for the positives, play to your strengths, be the best you can be. If you don’t it’s not only you that loses, we all lose. The world deserves to see you at your vibrant best.
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