“With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world”. This famous line from the Desiderata illustrates the fairly obvious point that the world can be seen in positive or negative ways. Which one do you tend to focus on? Well, many of us often tend to focus on the negative. So, ask someone how they are and they will often tell you how busy they are, or how tired they are, or their latest crisis. Unfortunately there is a danger that this sets the rest of the conversation going down a negative track, which focuses on everything that is wrong with the world.
A recent book by Michelle Gielan, called Broadcasting Happiness, puts forward the idea that starting any communication in a positive way is likely to set the ball rolling towards greater optimism and productivity. It’s not just about positive thinking. Rather, it is a book about creating a more positive environment by shifting how we communicate. There is now an abundance of research suggesting that such shifts can lead to greater productivity, higher sales and lower levels of stress in the workplace.
So, Michelle Gielan advocates starting meetings, conversations, emails and discussions with compliments, commendations, or just simple reflections on what is going well. She also recommends using social media for posting positive and uplifting messages. She says that this boosts our optimism and positivity, and that this is contagious.
Perhaps all of us are a little wary of relentless positivity. It can feel ‘forced’ or fake. Continually, hearing “Have a nice day!” soon becomes irritating. Nevertheless, if we remember to ‘keep it real’ and communicate honestly and meaningfully, we can keep the focus on what is positive, and keep the sham and drudgery in the background.
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