Positivity, A practice

After a brief encounter at church, our son Noel sent a text to his close friends, “I think I met the woman I am going to marry.” This was not a fleeting fantasy or immature passion.  Noel was a 32-year-old discerning, eligible bachelor who had met a lot of women. A few months later we met that special woman, “Mary.” We quickly realized why it was love at first sight.   Mary’s top strength is “Positivity.”

According to the StrengthsFinder2.0 assessment, “People exceptionally talented in the Positivity theme have contagious enthusiasm. They are upbeat and can get others excited about what they are going to do.” Everyone loves Mary because her positivity touches people where they are most in need.

Making every moment count.

  • Nobel Prize recipient and Gallup Senior Scientist, Daniel Kahneman, suggests that each day, we experience approximately 20,000 moments. A “moment” is defined as a few seconds when our brains record an experience. The moments that stay with us are either positive or negative as usually we do not recall the neutral moments.
  • In their book, How full is your bucket?,Don Clifton and Tom Rath say that with each encounter we either help fill or drain someone’s emotional bank account.
  • Doug Conant, the former CEO of Campbell Soup Company, speaks of high-quality touchpoints that help improve overall employee engagement.
  • Tim Simon, a Learning and Development Consultant at Gallup, writes,“While we cannot take time to analyze each moment of our life, we could consciously begin to practice the art of increasing the number of positive interactions each day. Think about how just one positive interaction can turn your day around. Think about how these daily interactions can change your life and those you connect with.”

How did Mary gain her positivity? I suspect Mary was born with a gift or a talent that was developed by many life choices in spite of life challenges. You see our talents are like our muscles; as we exercise them they develop and grow to serve us and impact the life of those around us.  Challenging experiences like challenging exercise often bring the greatest results. I suspect that Mary encountered her greatest life challenge in losing her Mom to cancer when she was almost 6 years old.  Through this trauma and pain as well as other life challenges, Mary made choices that developed her strength of positivity.

How about you and me? As you start a new year, how can we make every moment count?   Mary’s experience reminds me of the Apostle Paul. Out of his imprisonment in Caesarea he writes   to his friends in Philippi “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” Philippians 4:8.  That is how we do it.