Thursday, 7 November 2013

The Sky Is Falling

If you’ve read a newspaper or watched the news lately you have no doubt been bombarded with bad news stories about how poorly the economy is doing and how tough things currently are.  Sure, the economy is certainly not booming but the oversaturation of negative news items would have you believe that the sky is falling!  A story about a global company moving 200 jobs offshore will almost certainly always lead a story about another company employing 200 people.   
With all this negativity being thrust in front of us daily, it is hard not to get caught up in it or to let your personal outlook become slightly more pessimistic.  I often bump into people in the street and the conversation usually leads to the standard ‘so how’s business doing’ small talk which is more often than not responded to with an ‘it’s really tough out there’ reply.  You can see their body language change and hear the appearance of a depressed tone in their voice.  I am sure many of you have been guilty of uttering these words sometime in the past few months.
When you utter these words, subconsciously you are telling yourself on a cognitive level that your results or lack thereof is because it’s a tough market.  In a way you are telling yourself that it doesn’t matter what you do, you are going to fail and that’s because that’s the environment you are currently working in.
So how do we respond to this?  A lot of companies and individuals believe that the only way to beat this is to increase their KPIs; make more calls, see more clients, work, work, work.  Whilst this approach can and will occasionally work, you are still subconsciously carrying around the cognitive belief that ‘it’s tough out there’ so ‘I will fail’.  It’s easier to make excuses and ultimately leave you downtrodden, in some cases quite depressed.
So what’s the secret?  How do you increase results?  Happiness – yes happiness.  A lot of us have been trained to believe that happiness comes when you are successful, the truth is and it has been scientifically proven, that happiness leads to success and not the other way around.  Shawn Achor in his book, The Happiness Advantage gives countless evidence around the science of Positive Psychology and I strongly suggest grabbing yourself a copy or at the very least take a look at his TED talk on YouTube. 
One effective tool is to start everyday by writing down 3 things you are grateful for and why.  It can be difficult at first but over time it will get easier as you program your brain to look out for all the positives in your life. This will make an amazing difference and prime you every day to be more successful.  It will help you be more optimistic and see the opportunities rather than the negatives and road blocks.
Everybody sees the world differently and your map of the world is unique, it’s been shaped by events in your life, the people around you and how you have reacted or responded to different experiences.  The great news is by changing your perspective and understanding your filters, you really can change the way you see the world.  One study shows that doctors who have been primed for happiness (put in a happy mood) before making a diagnosis not only made the right diagnosis faster (nearly twice as fast) but that they were also more creative.

Are you setting yourself up for failure or success?



  1. I dig this article, Gareth. It is hard to stay positive in recruiting sometimes, but you're right--if you tell yourself you will succeed, the failures aren't as significant and the successes are much sweeter. Thanks.

    1. Thanks Tim, I appreciate the kind words. It really is true that what you focus on is what you see. All the best.