By Lesley Sawyers
This week I’ve been reading “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor. It is based on the simple premise that happiness fuels success and how you can become more positive in order to gain a competitive advantage in your business and personal life.
My reading coincided with the Scottish Women of the Year Awards in Glasgow, at which 3 inspirational women were recognised for their outstanding personal achievements, for their support and selfless help to others, and in overcoming adversity or great personal tragedy. Their stories of triumph through adversity and success through commitment and sheer dedication and perseverance were inspiring.
The extraordinary tales of achievement of these 3 Scottish women was proof that by simply believing we can bring about positive change, not only in our own lives but in those of others, increases our motivation, perseverance and happiness. They all exuded a confidence and belief in their own abilities and a sense of inner confidence and dedication which enabled them to focus their efforts and energies in helping others.
To listen to their stories and achievements was inspiring, everyone in the audience left the event feeling good about themselves and their ability to make a difference in life. And it brought me back to Achor’s theory of happiness and the Losada Line of positivity i.e. that it takes 3 positive comments, experiences or expressions to deflect the effect of 1 negative. We can’t yet bottle positive action, but if 3 people can change the mood and disposition of 300 hundred others on a cold, winters evening though their positive emotions and actions, we have the opportunity to turn that positivity of a small number into competitive business advantage and to focus that positive energy on driving lasting social change within our communities.
Achor also quotes the work of Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler who estimate that most of us have the ability to influence 1000 people within 3 degrees. If we apply that logic to the Scottish Women of the Year awards, then those 3 inspiration and dedicated women had the ability to transform not only the lives of the 300 people in the audience, but another 2,700 connected with it. These 3,000 people who would then themselves impact over 3,000,000 people.
That’s the power of the “happiness advantage” in action, the power of 3 women to transmit positive energy and action to 3 million people – now that’s immense…