Is it time for new glasses?

Positivity. Favorite part of my work day? The commute to work. It is in those moments, before I enter the parking lot, where I set myself up for the new day and have that “anything is possible” feeling. Add some “Walking on Sunshine,” and I feel unstoppable! (I dare you to put that song on full blast and try not to smile, sing along, and feel awesome.)

I am often asked, “Are you always this happy?” to which I reply, “What is the alternative?” This question about where my positivity and optimism comes from sparked my interest into the human mind and happiness. Are some people just born happy and others negative? Is our positivity something we can increase? The answers I found in this search are lessons that shape what I make of my life.

I took a serious interest in Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits years ago and was immediately intrigued by his See-Do-Get model. The model explains human behavior: what we get comes from what we do, which comes from how we see the world. Absolutely liberating, right?!


View 1: When an employee doesn’t finish the work expected of him within the time frame needed, we (as their supervisor) can see it as he is bad at time management or he just doesn’t like us. Then, as a supervisor, we might stop delegating certain tasks to him. More work for us means more hours at the office…you see where this is going.

View 2 (new glasses): Take a moment in that situation to ask ourselves, “what is another way to see this situation?” or “what is another way to see this situation that will lead to the most positive outcome?” Just by pausing and questioning our own view of the situation gives us options; a better way to act and get the results we want.

Choice. Choosing a positive and optimistic lens doesn’t mean being blind to the negatives in life, it means knowing we can do something about them. For example, working in a department with a 10% reduction in budget for next year isn’t usually a situation to celebrate. Seeing this situation as an opportunity to get creative in ways to still add value and advance the unit forward is doing something about it. Shawn Achor, a happiness researcher and author, discusses in his book Before Happiness, “before happiness and success comes your perception (lens) of the world. So before we can be happy and successful, we need to create a positive reality that allows us to see the possibility for both.”

So how do you create that positive reality for yourself?

1. Acknowledge that each of don’t see the world as it is, but as we are is the first step to opening ourselves to the possibility of options.

2. With the awareness that my lens is only one way of looking at a situation, I can then ask myself “what’s another way to look at this?” Or even better “what’s a better way to look at this that will get me closer to what I want (results)?”

3. Asking yourself those questions gives you options. All you need to do is choose the one that serves you the best in that moment.

Positive psychology. Research shows that people with positive mindsets experience higher engagement levels, increased productivity, and make fewer errors. Could it be time to try a new lens?


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