Don’t Drive at Night with Your Low Beams – Improve your positivity ratio

 In Better Life, Focusing on the positive

If you’ve been to one of my talks, you might have heard me mention the Positivity Ratio.  It’s a concept from the work of Prof. Barbara Fredrickson that we need at least 3 positive experiences for every negative experience to flourish and enjoy the benefits of positive emotions.  Studies have shown this ratio is not only important for our own personal wellbeing, but also our relationships and business teams.

One of the great advantages of having a strong Positivity Ratio is that we can more easily avoid getting stuck in all the pet-peeves, and irritating, little nuisances and inconveniences in our lives.  I like to compare it to driving down a country road at night with our low beams on.  All we can see is what is right in front of us (what we don’t like) and we miss out on all the wonderful scenery that surrounds us.  We not only miss noticing the good things in our lives, we fail to see many of the opportunities and possibilities that exist.  These negative thoughts mess up our priorities and steal precious time from our lives.

Have you ever heard of the number 86,400?  There is a great story that asks what would you do if every day you had $86,400 in your bank account that you had to spend?    You couldn’t save it for another day but you could spend it on anything you wanted.  Whatever you didn’t use would be lost forever.  Interesting that 86,400 is the number of seconds in a day.

What can you do today to add positive experiences to your life or to someone else’s?


Tina Hallis, Ph.D., is a professional speaker and consultant for The Positive Edge, a company dedicated to helping people and organizations fulfill their true potential using strategies from the science of Positive Psychology.

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