Why do some people choose to view life through rose-coloured glasses? A bit weird aren’t they – those unnaturally happy people who practically bounce when they walk and have rainbows oozing out from between their lips when they smile.
Although a very simplified version, science and research has now given us insight into the brains of these happy people. Shawn Achor, through his Ted talk “The Happy Secret to Better Work” [http://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work.html] coins people like this under the term of those experiencing “Positive Psychology”. As business students, we are taught the practical outcomes of happy employees: ““75% of job successes are predicted by your optimism levels, your social support, and your ability to challenges as an opportunity and not a threat.” Simple stuff. Ok, so, happy people make happy employees. It doesn’t take Mr. Holmes to create that correlation. But what is interesting lies in the types of cognitive process your brain employs when it is happy.
Achor said the following, “If you can raise someone’s level of positivity in the present, then their brain experiences what we now call the happiness advantage – which is your brain at positive, performs significantly better than your brain at negative, neutral, or stressed. Your intelligence rises, your creativity raises, your energy levels rise. In fact what we found is that every single business outcome improves.”
Did you hear that? Creativity rises. Creativity rises. Remember what we learnt about barriers? Creativity is stifled by barriers. Barriers of time, restrictions on resources, an over-hearing black hat, etc. But there are psychological barriers as well. Barriers of low self-esteem, negativity, and stress, just to name a few. Happy brains open up the creative potential within people. Neurologists have proven it, psychologists have proven it, sociologists have proven it. So why aren’t we listening?
Like the opening paragraph, we think that happy people are weird. WE DO! Believe me – we do. Consider the graph which was shown in the Ted talk. It was nonsensical – there was no data involved. But the message was clear. We wanted to remove the outlier. We wanted to remove the weirdo. Consider an average business lecture. Why do we always remove the outliers? Yes, Coca-Cola’s exceptional business strategy cannot be easily replicated in every industry or with every company. But why not study their exceptional success? Why out-rule them as an outlier? Why think of them as a one-off? Why view them as weird?
If we get past our passion of mediocrity, we are free to explore the endless possibilities of our own potential. Potential for happiness. Potential for creativity. If we consciously take our lives in our own hands, and commit to being happy as much as possible we eliminate the barriers that stand between us and our creative potential. Creativity is a science. It is locked within the cognitive potential of our brains. But, slowly, we are researching and learning the keys which are required to unlock this creative potential.
So I challenge you, as I have challenged myself, to use this key. Start with the happiness key. Try, just try, to view the world through rose coloured glasses. Or yellow ones, or rainbow ones – which ever suits your fancy. Try random acts of kindness. Try raising your own dopamine level both consciously and subconsciously. Try bouncing while walking. Try oozing rainbows.
Try smiling more.
Try laughing more.
Try seeing more.
Try being happy. Today. Tomorrow. Next week. This minute. While you’re sleeping.
And once you’ve tried – try to inspire others to do the same.
A little treat, from my heart to yours. I hope you smile: