A considerable amount of research has accumulated over the past decade on the topics of optimism and positivity. It is now very clear that a person’s level of optimism not only impacts his/her personal life, but there is solid evidence that a person’s level of optimism can actually predict his/her performance on the job. In fact, one study found that only 25% of a person’s job performance was predicted by the person’s intelligence level, while 75% of job performance was predicted by the person’s level of optimism, social support, and ability to see stress as a challenge (Horn & Arbuckle, 1988; Estrata, Isea, & Young, 1997)
Other studies clearly show high levels of optimism and positivity supports job success, productivity, resilience, positive work relationships, and even specific job outcomes like sales volume. One of the most interesting findings is that the higher level of optimism a person has the more receptive the person’s brain becomes to learning, change, and adaptability through higher levels of dopamine.
These studies point to the fact that our ability to determine how we perceive and handle our circumstances can have a significant impact on our career achievement and our life satisfaction and happiness. We can begin building higher optimism and positivity in our lives by training our brain. Several studies have sought to understand how we can go about training ourselves to be more positive, optimistic, and resilient. These studies point to 5 key habits we can implement that can make us more positive and optimistic people.
1. Think about 3 things you are thankful for each day.(Emmons & McCollough, 2003)
2. Journal about something good that happened each day. (Slatcher & Pencebaker, 2006)
3. Exercise (Babyak, et al., 2000)
4. Daily meditation and focused thinking (Dweck, 2007)
5. Do at least one random act of kindness daily (Lyubomirsky, 2005)
Much of the information above was gleaned by this cleverly presented speech by Shawn Achor. Watch and enjoy.