Barbara Frederickson, an academic and researcher in the science of positive psychology determined that there is a positivity ratio and that ratio is 3:1. That is three positive thoughts or feelings to every one negative thought or feeling. We either spiral up OR we spiral down. We need to specifically and very deliberately look for ways to make ourselves feel good, remembering that the connection between happiness and goal accomplishment is undeniable. If we build our wellbeing, we will have far greater chance of achieving our life long goals and aspirations.
The brain is pessimistic by design and has a negativity bias, so we need to consciously and very strategically look for ways to make ourselves feel good. As humans, we are very good at making things out to be so much worse than what they really are and so we need to very deliberately and very consciously look for ways to make ourselves feel good so that we build and enhance our positivity ratio.
Frederickson teamed up with mathematician Marcial Losada and he determined that peak performing teams have a ratio of 6:1. Losada and his team would go into boardrooms and sit behind one-way mirrors and listen to the language being used by the team members. He determined that peak performing teams have a ratio of 6 positive statements (supporting and encouraging comments) to every one negative (sarcastic and disapproval comments).
If you are part of a team at work, how would your team rate when it comes to the work of Marcial Losada? Frederickson went on to correlate prosperity and profitability back to the positivity ratio. She deemed that if a business has a positivity ratio of greater than 3:1 then the business is considered to be economically sound. Less than 3:1 and a business is deemed financially in trouble. If we want to build a successful and prosperous business, we must build a culture where there is meaning and there are strategies in place to build the positivity ratio. We need to do this as individuals and we need to do it with our teams.
Why is positivity is great for productivity and profitability?
There are now studies being done in Europe where a nation’s prosperity is based on the levels of hypertension of the people that reside in that country. Interesting isn’t it? In fact, it is being suggested that in the future, both doctors and economists may need to work together to define economic policy. Makes so much sense doesn’t it?
Because the way our brain operates, we need to be strategic and very deliberate about making ourselves feel good. We need to build our positivity muscle and we need to be encouraging and supporting of other people by being constructive in our responses to them so that we can contribute to their wellbeing. Typically, our most memorable moments are the ones that include the responses of other people. How many memories do you have where something someone said helped to spiral you downwards?
Next time you have the opportunity, make someone feel good and assist them in building their positivity ratio by being conscious and deliberate in your response to that person. Become a cheerleader by practicing being active and constructive in your responses to other people and help people win. What things can you do to begin to build your own positivity ratio? If you are part of a team, how can you help other people win? Catch people doing something well and contribute to their wellbeing by telling them. Decide today to be active in finding ways to help people feel better about themselves.
As a result of doing this, you too, will feel great about yourself. Feeling good about ourselves and having wellbeing in our lives will correlate directly back to our levels of prosperity and profitability – personally and professionally.