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Wear a Positive Label

While we may not know it, we all go through life wearing labels.  Labels are the words that we and others use to describe ourselves.  These labels can categorize us and reflect in our mood and what we believe about ourselves.  Labels that can eventually end up controlling our destiny.  What label are you wearing?  Does it tell the true story about you, who you want to be and what you want to achieve?  If not, change your label.

We need to wear positive labels.  It’s human nature to focus and dwell on things from a negative perspective.  As we have talked about before, happiness is a choice and at times a very difficult choice.  There are negative influences that we experience on a daily basis that can easily drive us down the negative path.

Like being happy, the label we wear, how we feel about ourselves and how we project ourselves is our choice.  Many times it is a label that we have heard others say about us (parents, friends, teachers, and bosses) and we believe them.  Often these are negative labels and the more we believe them the more they become who we are.  As the saying goes, “you are what you think”.

Studies have shown that the labels truly impact our performance.  Labels not only impact the perception we have of ourselves, but how others perceive us as well – which in turn directly impacts us.  In a study of elementary school children, teachers labeled kids who accelerated as “average”.  The labels were communicated to other teachers and faculty in the school.  The kids began seeing themselves differently. Teachers began to expect less of them and in turn treated them differently because of their label.  As this label became more known, those children began to perform at more “average” levels.  The same was true for “under performers” who were labeled as “exceptional” and began to excel and perform as leaders of the class.

We can’t prevent others from putting labels on us, but we can choose to ignore those labels.  Each day we have the choice to wake up and put our own label on – a label that projects who we really are and who we want others to see.  Make an effort to give yourself a positive label(s) that focus on your strengths and not on weaknesses.  Again, this can be difficult and go against human nature.  We need to reprogram levels of negative thinking and focus on positive.  Believe in the label that you put on yourself – what do you want to achieve?  Positive labels can help you open doors to being more happy and successful.

Since we know that the labels that we put on others can have an impact, when you have a chance, encourage others by putting positive labels on them – your children, co-workers, friends, team mates.  It is amazing to see how your little added effort will help them become more positive and see themselves in a different light.  Additionally, others will begin to see and treat them differently.

There are a number of examples that show successful people who were labeled negatively and went on to be very successful (Walt Disney, Winston Churchill, Lucille Ball and Shaquille O’Neil).  The common denominator amongst these success stories was their ability to shrug off the labels that others had put on them and focus on creating their own labels.

What label are you wearing?  Is it a positive reflection of who you are and what you want to achieve?

Happiness in the News

The good news; happiness is starting to consistently make headlines.  The bad news; not everyone is happy.  More good news; there are a lot actions you can take to become happier.

 

Happiness at Work

From a recent New York Daily News article:

Workplace morale heads down: 70% of Americans negative about their jobs, Gallup study shows ‘Bosses from hell’ are giving U.S. workers the Monday blues. Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace report had grim findings, including that 70% of those surveyed either hate work or are completely disengaged, and perks don’t help.

A Harvard Business Review blog offered some hope by explaining how to create a happier team.

“Happy, engaged employees are good for an organization. Research shows they are more creative, produce better results, and are willing to go the extra mile. What’s more, happiness is contagious; it creates a virtuous cycle that leads to further engagement. To bring more of that into your team, focus on what psychologists have identified as the three pathways to happiness: pleasure, engagement, and meaning. Consider whether you are actively encouraging these things in your people. Do they enjoy their relationships and their environment at work? Do they laugh? Do they fill roles that fit their skill sets and offer appropriate challenges? Do they feel they’re a part of something that matters? If the answer is no to any of these questions, brainstorm how you can adjust the team environment to bring more happiness in.”

Jonathan from Advance Life Skills gives us some insight into productivity and happiness.  It seems we all want to be more and more productive.  The problem is we don’t know when we are productive enough.  We interfere with our happy and relaxing times by trying to be more productive so we can have more happy and relaxing times.  This sends us into a downward spiral of unhappy productivity.   Being productive helps us feel accomplished and good about ourselves.  The challenge is we have to create balance.  We are being productive so we can have time to be happy.  To be happy we need to identify times to stop being overly focused on productivity and just be happy and in the moment.  Set your priorities and know when to step off the productivity merry-go-round and enjoy the moment, time with your family and friends, and all that you have accomplished.

 

 

Happiness from Giving

Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton, authors of the recently released Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending, offer some ideas based on their research of giving money away.  They offered participants either $5 or $20 and gave them one of two possible scenarios.  Spend the money on themselves before the end of the day or spend it on someone else.  They measured the participants’ happiness before and after they spent the money and found that the people who spent the money on someone else were much happier than those who spent it on themselves.  It didn’t matter whether they got $5 or $20 spending the money on someone else made them measurably happier.  Dunn and Norton and offer several tips for how to spend money and become happier including; Buy Experiences, Make it a Treat, Buy Time, Pay Now – Consumer Later, and Invest in others. You can read more here and here.

 

You can read more about the 7 Habits of Happiness or about Happiness in the Workplace.

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