New year 2011 grow

Happy New Year!

Wishing you a Happy New Year with the emphasis on happy, or rather happiness and positivity.

Our work over the past year in leadership development has turned up an idea we think is worth spreading — happiness and positivity in ourselves and our organizations.

No, not happy-ology or pollyanna-type happiness. This is authentic happiness, the kind that comes from a life well-lived. Happiness comes from four domains:

  1. positive emotions,
  2. relationships with others,
  3. meaning and purpose, and
  4. positive accomplishments.

Check out our post over at the BizLearning Blog about Your formula for Success and Happiness in the New Year, and check to see if your “molecular” formula is weighted the way you want.

Positivity comes from focusing on what is working rather than what is not working. It takes even negative issues and flips them to look for the opportunities hidden inside them. It has been proven that individuals and teams show exponential increases in performance when the positive-to-negative ratio exceeds 3-to-1.

Did you know that happiness and positivity are truly contagious? If you focus on them and develop them, you will increase your impact on others and that of your organization.

In other words, “pura vida.”

I am writing this post from my last few days on vacation in Costa Rica, where I hear these words over and over again. They are used as a greeting, goodbye, thank you, and just about everything else.

Knowing a little Spanish, I realized they mean “pure life,” although they are backward from how I was taught Spanish — adjectives follow their objects. My curiosity and the dim memory of Spanish proper had me looking up the meaning of this ubiquitous phrase.

According to Wikipedia, I was remembering correctly. “Pura vida” is backwards on purpose. Here is what Wikipedia said:

“Pure life” in Spanish would be “Vida pura” instead, so the real meaning is closer to “plenty of life,” “full of life,” “this is living!”, “going great,” “real living” or “cool!”[1  … However, Costa Ricans use the phrase to express a philosophy of strong community, perseverance, resilience in overcoming difficulties with good spirits, enjoying life slowly, and celebrating good fortune of magnitudes small and large alike.”

“Pura vida” is exactly the concept I was looking for, and more importantly what I was feeling while on vacation in this country that just happens to rank No. 1 on the Happy Planet Index. (They obviously walk the talk.)  

What if we can make our workplace positive and happy? The kind of place that you can literally feel and the kind of place that truly helps people flourish? We can choose to work and live stressed-out lives or we can strive for something better and more meaningful. It all starts with each of us making a conscious effort to learn and apply these concepts to ourselves and our organizations. Research tells us that the prosperity and profits will follow.

Are you ready to start (or join) the movement?

That is my New Year's wish for you — happiness, positivity, pura vida.

Happy New Year!

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