Friends often come to me and say, 'Hey Tim, you are so positive all the time - how are you doing that?'. One could say, oh, that is simply my character. It might be, though for me it is a deep conviction that positivity is the better approach to life. What led me to this conviction? There are a few elements which I would like to elaborate on here.
First is simply neuroscience: when people are exposed to negative emotional situations then the reptilian brain reacts with freeze, fight or flight. When we are in a positive emotional state, we can thrive; we are good at heuristic tasks, more curious and as a result more productive.
Based on this and what I have seen in multiple workshops and real life situations, when we enjoy the situation and are in a good mood, creativity rises, brainstorming sessions work better, we easily solve problems and are overall the engagement and motivation is getting high.
Further, I discovered that nothing is simply good or bad. People, processes, systems, situations always have positive and(!) and negative sides. Even a specific action typically leads to advantages and disadvantages. Life in general is nuanced. Are there really errors, mistakes, burning platforms, issues, problems? Or shall we rather say that something has led to an outcome we didn't expect and anticipated. As a result, we always have the possibility of finding something positive about any situation. And yes, that doesn't mean we naively ignore the negative impacts.
We have all been in situations where we ourselves get annoyed with something or our counterparts are fuming. With these emotions we are getting defensive, losing the ability to think critically. Positivity allows us to reduce limiting emotions. Prepare a foundation where we can work together towards a better outcome.
Then there is trust; an essential element for good collaboration. In order to allow people to open up to each other, a positive environment helps a lot.
And, in my experience in change management, positivity makes transformation much much easier. Allows the adaptors to become more receptive and reduces the negative impact any change is creating.
How can you become a positive person? First, human- and data-centric approaches like design thinking and lean management allow us to be more considerate, curious and nuanced. Mindfulness helped me a lot to become more balanced and view things in a more down-to-earth way. I love the principles of appreciative inquiry. And I can only encourage practicing more positive leadership.
What are your experiences with positivity?
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Tim is a change practitioner in the area of innovation and excellence. He is working with teams to accelerate innovation, collaboration and agility.