Is your glass half-empty or half-full? It's an age-old question we have all been asked and considered. We know that, theoretically, a half-empty glass is still half-full. Yet, that can be difficult - or even impossible - to remember in the face of a life-threatening illness or a major disaster. In the midst of tragedy, can a positive attitude really make a difference?Â
In his wise little book, As a Man Thinketh, James Allen tells us:
"There is no physician like cheerful thought...no comforter to compare with goodwill for dispersing the shadows of grief and sorrow."
This might sound like an oversimplification, but it's something to which we ought to aspire. Through his own research, as well as discoveries made by leading scientists, Dr. Donald Clifton has determinedÂ that increasing positive emotions can lengthen one's lifespan by as much as ten years. Professor Norman Cousins believed that laughter truly is good medicine, often referring to it as "internal jogging." (Cousins, a noted journalist, professor and world peace activist, amazed his physicians by surviving 26 years after being diagnosed with heart disease.) And we all know the story of seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, whose Livestrong Foundation "inspires and empowers people with cancer through the belief that unity is strength, knowledge is power, and attitude is everything."Â
With the advancement of technological research, and perhaps in response to a demanding population, scientists are discovering real connections between psychology and biology. The body truly does respond to the mind. Professor Candace B. Pert of Georgetown University School of Medicine reports:
"Recent technological innovations have allowed us to examine the molecular basis of the emotions, and to begin to understand how the molecules of our emotions share intimate connections with, and are indeed inseparable from, our physiology."Â
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â (Molecules of Emotion, page 18)
Â·Â Â Â Â increase their individual productivity;
Â·Â Â Â Â increase engagement among their colleagues;
Â·Â Â Â Â have better safety records and fewer accidents on the job;
Â·Â Â Â Â are more likely to stay with the organization longer; and
Â·Â Â Â Â receive higher loyalty and satisfaction scores from customers.
Additionally, Dr. Clifton's research found that employees can actually scare off customers permanently by exuding a negative attitude. Clifton's strengths-based philosophy is at the core of training and development instruction at The Center for Strength-Based Strategies. The Center teaches motivational interviewing, team building and more to individuals, communities and corporations.Â
In an emerging paradigm of benefits and resources, we are learning how molecular research, incredible life stories and new industry demonstrate that positivity is inherent to success. And so, I must ask: how full is your glass?
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