Does Positivity Really Matter


There's been a lot written about positive psychology in books such as Authentic Happiness and The Happiness Advantage (two books I highly recommend). At the core of each of these books, as well as others like them, is the fundamental question: Does positivity really matter?

Recently I tweeted the following message:

$ from product sales at conference I spoke at got jacked (glass 1/2 empty).
Just developed a better system for product sales (glass 1/2 full).

The responses I received were interesting. Here are just a few examples:

  • WHAT!?!? 
  • How much did you lose? 
  • Who took it?
  • Bummer!

However, Sutton Parks tweeted this back:

Sorry to hear that. “Those that are hardest to love need it the most.”
– the Way of the Peaceful Warrior

(Excellent tweet, Sutton!)

Bottom line, many people missed what I was trying to communicate. What I was trying to say is, stuff like this happens. Yet it's our response to such events, and not the events themselves, that determines whether we experience success in life and business. (Can I get an E+R=O shout out?!)

Don't misunderstand. When I discovered our product sales money had been stolen, I was not a happy camper! When I travel to speak, we pack up product, ship it ahead of my arrival (or I carry it with me), set up a display table, man the table, and then pack up all unsold products and ship (or carry) it back. That's a lot of work!

So yes, at first it knocked the wind out of me. And to be completely honest, I wanted to knock the wind out of the person who stole our money.

But within a matter of minutes I remembered positivity matters. So I actually said the following statement aloud to myself: What is done is done. Now, what can I learn from it?

The moment I said this, my perspective changed! My focus was on future solutions, not further sulking. My mind was thinking of improvements, not impoverishment. Additionally, not only did my perspective change, my attitude changed as well. I was joyful within a matter of minutes. Was I still disappointed we lost money? Absolutely! Then why was I joyful? I was joyful because I felt in control. I was taking ownership of what I could own…namely, my attitude and actions. Plus, I had learned a valuable lesson.

So YES…positivity matters! Not goofy, shallow positivity that encourages people to put their heads in the sands or chat silly mantras. But realistic positivity that understands life includes both ups and downs, yet we have the power to choose our responses and take action.


Question: How has positivity made a difference in your life?