The power of positive thinking: the science, a story, and some stats - Dignify
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The power of positive thinking: the science, a story, and some stats

Wednesday, January 17, 2024 - Joe Kiedinger

Every single one of us is born with the same power – can you guess what that is? It’s the power to control how we think about the events that happen in our lives – the power to control our mindset, regardless of what’s happening to us. For example, if we make the conscious choice to think positively on a given day, then it’s difficult to slip back into the neutral or negative, even if it’s a bad day. I want to stress the words “conscious choice” – we need to be intentional about it because it just isn’t how we’re wired to function.

Let’s go through a bit of science. Research shows us that our brains are wired to think negatively 80% of the time. It’s not as unhealthy as you might think just looking at that number. Actually, it’s how our brain keeps us out of dangerous situations and away from harmful people. It’s perfectly natural. However, it’s not exactly conducive to creating a healthy team or organization.

As a leader, you want to do everything you can to tap into the power of that other 20%. You want to create a culture that enables people to think positively more than they do negatively, especially in crunch time. Like I said in my last WOW, this isn’t as hard to do as you might think. Let me tell you about it!

Recently, I was meeting with a client’s executive leadership team to take them through the Rockefeller Habits and answer what we call the “six critical questions.” It was early in the morning, and I just jumped right into the process with them. As we went through it, I couldn’t help but notice that the energy in the room was… heavy. We were tired, disengaged, and a bit uncreative – just going through the motions. I was trying to figure out why that was happening. Normally, this is a high energy process that keeps people engaged and excited the whole way through.

Then it struck me, I forgot to do the “Good News Check-In” at the beginning of the meeting. I immediately stopped everything in its tracks and said, “Hey, let’s all share something that’s going well at home and at work.” So, we all went around the table and shared – this ended up going for 45 minutes, and sure enough, the energy shot through the roof. The team was abuzz, everybody was sitting at the edge of their seat, and needless to say, we had a very productive meeting.

The Good News Check-In truly made a night and day and difference in how well the conversation was going. Why? It’s surprisingly fairly simple – they were happy! Research done by Shawn Achor, a highly accredited thought leader in positive psychology, shows us that happy employees are 31% more productive than unhappy ones. Sales personnel are 37% more effective, and doctors are 19% more accurate when they’re happy.

These are real, tangible effects that you can replicate without much hassle at all. All it takes is a bit of effort on your part. Consider working the Good News Check-In into your meetings and see the difference it makes. Hope you’re having a great start to the New Year!


ACTION PLAN: Think about what you can do to foster a happier, more positive environment for your team. What’s one thing can you put into action this week?

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