Optimism and Positivity

Productivity at the Workplace

It only took a few words from Nikki, a five year old at that time, telling her father that ‘if she can stop being a whiner, he could stop being a grouch’ to change his attitude towards life and contribute towards making others around him “Happy”, quite literally. It was for him, an epiphany. Nikki’s father is now crowned as the Father of Positive Psychology – Dr. Martin Seligman.

happy image

As hypothetical and unconvincing this may seem, Seligman has time and again proved that positive thinking has an elephantine impact on one’s life, with affects on the physiological health as well. He included in his studies and researches the effects of Positive Psychology on school-going children, military personnel, employees at the workplace, also on old-age persons.

Positive psychology does not just provide an ambitious theoretical perspective but mirabile dictu, is a pragmatic and applicable approach to living life.
We spend an average half of our waking hours at the work place, complaining, bellyaching about the workload, longing for the weekend. In pursuit of begetting a healthy, productive and if not a Pollyanna but at most an optimistic employee, some transformative attitudinal changes can be made.

 Optimism comes from the Latin word optimus, meaning ‘best’. Giving your best, learning the best from every situation, and expecting the same in return. Optimism is the tendency to believe, expect or hope that things will turn out well. In other words, looking forward for a Monday without the blues, not fretting about a work project, and finding a silver lining, come what may.

Generating positive emotions in oneself helps an individual commit to their work twice more than their unhappy counterparts. Brighter moods help us take smarter, creative decisions, and set higher and achievable goals towards which we persist longer.

Investing in our relationships at the workplace is important. Positivity and negativity are contagious, therefore seeking out positive people, cherishing their company and spending time with them, while managing our boundaries, help us benefit from their sunny dispositions.

In Japanese, Pecha Kucha roughly means chit-chat. It is a specific format of presentation. Each individual displays 20 slides with just pictures and has 20 seconds to explain each slide, keeping their presentations concise, meaningful and memorable.
Leaders at Intel changed the rules, people could now only share things about their lives outside of work. This, for them created an immediate significant difference, employees immediately started treating each other less like competitors and more like collaborators.

Identifying and staying true to our strengths and our virtues at the workplace, and focusing on the parts of us that are ‘flourishing’ while striving to achieve the most of our strengths, and not being caught up with our failures and trying to “fix” ourselves. Playing to our strengths rather than weaknesses not only impacts one’s intrinsic motivation, but also the company at large.

Reflecting on your work and finding a meaning to it turns your mundane, monotonous work rewarding; when an individual realises how the efforts that are put in have a genuine impact on someone else’s life, he/she instantaneously turns more productive, eventually leading to higher career satisfaction.

“It is the combination of reasonable talent and the ability to keep going in the face of defeat that leads to success” -Martin Seligman

Asmita Thapa