Driving to the beach I felt weighed down by lingering challenges. As the trip progressed, I decided to listen to a book by Tom Rath called Fully Charged. In the book he discusses many studies from positive psychology. I know most of the studies, but he was organizing them and presenting them in a way unique to his perspective. As I listened, his use of the material caused me to reflect. I imaged revised presentations, new presentations, and even new papers. I was filled with such positive feelings that I noted I was filled with positive feelings.
When we stopped for lunch, I sat with my son-in-law and we had a delightful conversation. Later in the day he made a comment: “Coming to the beach really makes Bob happy. At lunch, he was happier than I have seen him in a long time.”
The comment surprised me but then I paused and reflected. In that conversation I was at a peak. I was giving more genuine positive energy to him, to the grandchildren, and even the server. My son-in-law, the grandchildren, and even the server felt the positive energy and they responded in positive ways.
I often teach people about the positivity ratio. When people increase the frequency of positive to negative thoughts and feelings, the brain produces oxytocin and people feel, think, and act differently. There is movement from the normal survival mode to the learning, growth, and flourishing mode. I suggest ways in which they can do the work of self-regulation.
What I experienced on my way to the beach was slightly different. I had not made a decision to engage in the restructuring of my thought processes which is work that requires observing how I am thinking and then changing how I am thinking. Instead, I simply made the decision to listen to a book that was filled with positivity and I became filled with positivity.
The experience led me to think about other one-time changes with high payoffs. What if I decided to spend my future driving time listening to books like this one? What if I redesigned my office so there were far more positive cues around me? What if I made it a policy to listen to uplifting music? What if I stopped listening to the news so much? Then I began to think of ways to help others find easier ways to flourish. Again I was filled with excitement. I am grateful for my trip to the beach and for the notion of flourishing the easy way.
- What happens when you are filled with authentic positivity?
- What are some of the hard ways to elevate your positivity ratio?
- What easy changes would lead to big jumps in positivity?
- How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?