Senior Couple Shaking Hand With Insurance AgentIn the last few days of June, I had the pleasure to attend the Fourth World Congress of the International Positive Psychology Association. Wow!

I was amazed at the rush of people that moved ever so quickly as the doors opened to get seats at the front of the ballroom which held all 1500 of us (from 53 countries.) It’s no wonder. Almost all the “rock stars” of the Positive Psychology field were there to share their latest work with a group of passionate followers.

Happiness people! Researchers, scientists, doctors, PhD’s, coaches, Masters of Applied Positive Psychology all in one place in Disneyworld – now there’s a nice “vibe.” Four days of learning about what makes people flourish and organizations thrive. I’m still reeling from all the info – and am gradually processing what I can use and share with you.

I’ll share this one thought today and more as time goes on – this was a very profound one for me, from my teacher Dr. Martin Seligman (University of PA.)

We need to keep to challenging our theories and beliefs.

Dr. Martin Seligman started his keynote explaining how the theory of “Learned Helplessness” research he and others pioneered has been unraveled after 50 years! It’s not that we simply “learn” to be helpless; a certain chemical in the brain needs to present for that to happen. When the chemical is blocked a necessary condition for helplessness is removed. He calls this news a radical revolution in psychology, one that could turn the world of therapy on its head.

And then he tells us we can’t really undo the “bad stuff” but what we CAN do is build the expectation of control and mastery because what he has learned is that by building on the positive we are building a “Hope Circuit” in the brain. The hope circuit is all about the future!

Wow. This is big news for all you Positive Leaders out there! As you keep your “Positivity ratio” high, you are building a new neural circuit in the brain and preparing yourself and others for a more hopeful future.

He then went on to tell us about the World Well Being Project – it’s the equivalent of the Dow Jones average to track well-being in the world using the word clouds from Facebook and other social media sources. Because they have a partnership with Google Earth these clouds can be localized to zip code and can be overlaid with data from The Blue Zones and other works on where we can find the happiest and healthiest people.

It turns out that people who are highly satisfied with life use the word “We” more than “I”. Their word clouds reflect things like physical action and goal pursuits. They reflect Dr. Seligman’s formula for well-being PERMA: Pleasure, Engagement, Relationship, Meaning and Accomplishment.

In places where people are not satisfied with life their words reflect things like boredom, fatigue, depression and tension. He poses the question, “Could it be when we change the words we use we could change life satisfaction?”

Interesting question and one I think the readers of this publication already know the answer to!

If you CARE for rather than “Service” your customers; if you’ve done your best job of eliminating words like “No problem, no worries” (and “no” in general) and replaced them with affirmative words like “Certainly, Surely, I’d love to, My pleasure” and “Here’s what I CAN do,” you’ve answered his question.

YES! When we change the words we use we change the filter of perception that people look through. Do we increase satisfaction? We do better than that. We know satisfaction is not enough – it’s Customer HAPPINESS (and employee happiness) that matters. Happy Customers make our businesses better!

That’s enough for today, more soon!

Have a Happy Day!


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