Nine months have passed since the European Referendum and the UK’s economic prospects don’t look sunny. Sterling’s value against the US Dollar has fallen by about 15% and this is having an impact on fuel prices and the cost of foodstuffs, which suggests we’re entering a period of cost inflation and bleak times.
With Brexit Day (29 March 2017) fresh in the memory and as a remainer and passionate European I could take a negative view of the future. But I refuse to. Instead I turn to Shawn Achor’s work – his TedTalk and book ‘The Happiness Advantage’.
As an illustration of Achor’s philosophy I want you to imagine we are walking into a local bank. We arrive in the reception area and there are 48 other people waiting to be served. As we wait, in bursts a robber with a gun, he fires off the gun and a bullet goes straight through your arm.
The question to ask yourself now is ‘Are you lucky or unlucky?’
People who consider themselves unlucky, because – “How come I got shot when there were 49 other people in the room?” – are taking what is called a negative construct.
People who consider themselves lucky, because if the bullet had been 6 inches (or 15 European centimetres) either way then they could have been killed, are taking a positive construct.
Achor argues there are 3 good reasons why we should take positive constructs.
1 – When faced by challenge or adversity such as Brexit, people who take positive constructs rather than negative constructs are likely to achieve better outcomes. Their glass is half-full rather than half-empty.
2 – People who take positive constructs tend to have longer lasting relationships, indeed Achor argues you can rewire the brain to take positive constructs. For example, for the next 21 days, share 3 good things about your day with your partner. Achor argues that not only will you think more positively, the relationship with your partner will be stronger and more rewarding.
3 – Is ‘The Killer’ and is based on two pieces of research.
The diaries of novices entering a nunnery in the early 20th century were studied and their entries divided into positive and negative constructs. They discovered that nuns who took positive constructs lived, on average, 10 years longer than nuns who took negative constructs.
Dr Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology, asked people who were going down for open-heart surgery if they thought they were going to get better or die. He found that those who thought they were going to get better, had a propensity to get better. And those who thought they were going to die, had a propensity to die.
This reminds me of the Henry Ford quote: “Whatever you think, you’re probably right”.
So there’s good reason, despite the economic doom and gloom, to see Brexit in a positive light and as a positive construct.
Those who sit around remoaning won’t succeed. Individuals and companies who see Brexit as an opportunity are the ones that will do best.