Creating Happiness?

I was talking to a owner of a small business the other day and he was bemoaning how hard he is working and how he can’t seem to find any time to relax or enjoy himself or his family. When I asked him what he is doing to promote his own happiness he was taken aback. He told me that he didn’t think he had any control over his happiness but instead happiness would just come to him when he lands a new piece of business or his daughter hears about getting accepted to the college of her choice (although he chuckled that the cost of her education would cut into his enjoyment a bit.) I suggested to him that Read More

If Wishing Could Make It So

Building a “positivity bias” in place of our hardwired “negativity bias” is one of the important tools we discuss for building personal resilience in my new book, The Resilience Advantage. There is a mistaken belief, however, that if we just “think positive” we can then overcome all kinds of adversities, but that is a bit of how thinking positively became know as the “Pollyanna Principle.” The truth is that using positivity takes a lot more than just wishing and hoping. Research conducted by Gabrielle Oettingen at NYU showed that college students who focused on thinking about their next week as being fantastic actually reported less success than students who just recorded what happened. In follow-up experiments, she discovered that the Read More

The Power of Bromances

It was obvious when Prime Minister Trudeau visited the White House last week that he and President Obama had a love fest. They joked about hockey, shared poutines, told stories about their kids, and even did some work around green house gas reductions. Oh yeah, and there was plenty of hugging to go around. A recent research study in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology discussed the role of male bonding in reducing stress reactions among male rats. It seems that when the rats in the study experienced some type of stressful event they were more affiliative when put in with other male rats than when they were unstressed. In the stressed situations, the male rats huddled more and touched more. The researchers Read More

Art is Our Middle Name

This past weekend I performed with our improvisational theater group, Wing and A Prayer Players at an art exhibit focused on “Breaking the Stigma of Mental Health.” We had an amazing audience who participated with us responding with their their ideas, thoughts and feelings as we danced, sang, and told stories related to the art work in the gallery. At the end of the program, people used words like “enlightened,” “refreshed” and “alive” to describe how they were feeling after our performance. Art does that for us. It provides new perspectives on old ideas. It encourages a sharing of our deepest feelings and it renews our faith and spirit in the beauty of the world. There may be nothing better Read More

Your Approach to Life: Positive or Negative…or Both

In The Resilience Advantage, we discuss the importance of the positivity and negativity bias to building a strong resilient system. Since survival is life’s prime imperative (think of Maslow’s Hierarchy) the negativity bias, and its protective mechanism that makes sure we are safe, typically rules much of our day. We are always watchful to make certain that we don’t falter to the downside by making a seemingly terrible mistake. While the negativity bias was probably important to make sure Wooly Mammoths don’t trample us, we may very well overdo our negative perspective in today’s world. In most organizations, the negativity bias is now known as “risk management.” On the flip side, the positivity bias represents a more subconscious hopeful state Read More