Live, Grow and Relate: meaning and purpose in work and life

Posted on July 8, 2009

These blogs will offer three things: an inspirational quote that seeks to inspire you, the reader; second, a teaching or strategy which will intend to broaden and build a set of skills or resources that can positively serve you in your work life; and, thirdly a take away: a practical tip to help you see that there is more than one way to do it as you are learning to be and show up as your best self each day in your work and life.

A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.

~George Moore



Common sense may tell us that when we are calm and experiencing positive emotions, we show up as more intelligent. However, haven’t you had a time when you looked back on your life and remembered something that you did when you were scared and angry? Then later, this action seemed really dumb? Certainly we can all recall a lot of these “What was I thinking?” incidents. So, how to cultivate these positive emotions to move toward being our creative and intelligent “best”  especially in the work place?

Psychologists now believe that there are three core positives feelings: compassion (a feeling of understanding of others coupled with a desire to help), curiosity, delight and joy.  Love, the magical combination of all three, is the greatest positive feeling.  And, any of these positive emotions stimulate positive thought: creativity, insight and peace – which leads to our best thinking.

How do we make these shifts into positive emotion? What do we look for when asking ourselves for the highest and best way to deal with a challenge? For example, we might ask: Is there another way to feel, do or respond to this situation?

The key here is that the answer to this question often comes from inside of ourselves.  There is an old Sufi (a Persian mystical sect) story about this. It seems that Nasrudin was seen madly riding his donkey from one side of town to the other, searching for something. Finally the people in the town stopped him and asked, “Mullah Nasrudin what are you looking for?”

“My donkey” was the frantic reply.

Take away: Like Nasrudin in this story, we often race around looking for answers outside of ourselves. Sometimes the answers may not come as we expect. Yet, when we listen to ourselves and, at the same time, shift into positive emotion; this is often the time when we have the most insight and creativity. Yes, we all have untapped wisdom within. Look for it there.

Resources:

Barbara L. Fredrickson, PhD Positivity, Crown Publishers, 2009

Lynn D. Johnson, PhD “Activate your frontal lobes: One Minute to Increased Intelligence and Creativity” ljohnson@solutions-consulting.com. 1999-2004

Chris Peterson, A Primer in Positive Psychology, Oxford Press, 2006

Martin Seligman, Flourish, Free Press, 2011