I’m going to have a bit of a rant in this post over the Nay-Sayers who are purposefully looking for opportunities to dismiss positive psychology as nothing more than ‘happiology’.
So if you’re a naturally pessimistic and argumentative person who finds joy in the negative of life, and are constantly trying to convert others to your way of seeing the world, and using the deflective description that you’re a healthy skeptic of life, please don’t read any further… because this is about you.
Recently I was involved in a small group conversation about how to bring more meaning into our lives.
One of my colleagues made the sweeping comment that life is not about the pursuit of happiness and that happiness is not what it’s cracked up to be.
What do you think about that?
While there is some scientific evidence to support that pursuing happiness as a goal can actually detract you from being happy, there is overwhelmingly more evidence that when you have the intention, will and implement proven positive emotion strategies there are significant benefits you can gain in your personal and your work life… including increased motivation, improved health and recovery from illness, increased resilience, increased creativity, improved focus, higher productivity, more trusting relationships and living longer… just to name a few.
The detractors and critics of the benefits of positivity often cloud the reality by taking extreme positions… turning positivity into blind optimism, and happiness into ‘Pollyanna-ism’.
Intentionomics is about living a happy, flourishing and prosperous life. It’s about living a good life… It’s about answering the question of how to live our lives in a meaningful way, to have more positive moments than negative, (and to embrace the experience of all human emotions) to have flourishing relationships, to be inspiringly engaged in what we do (to be more mindful in more moments more often), to be more physically and emotionally healthy, and to have a sense of achievement and pride in who we are and what we contribute and accomplish in our lives
Let me put it this way… surely most people would choose to be happy over sad – this is not to say that we oughtn’t experience sadness, but it just doesn’t make sense to pursue a sad life… does it?
This is not about choosing specific examples of when not being happy can be of benefit – for example, it makes sense if we’re in danger, that having blind optimism and joy is not going to protect you, however, examples like this, when analyzed in a more ‘whole of life’ experience, just don’t stand up to a logical, practical or scientific test.
So to the pessimists, nay-sayers and others who want to bring the rest of us into their world of doom, gloom, negativity and skepticism, I celebrate in that when you do raise your points of view and opinion, and even scientific evidence that loosely support your position (all of which you’re entitled to do), all you really do, in the light of day, is to further highlight the realities of the benefits of seeking and pursuing a good life – a happy, flourishing and prosperous life.
Given a choice, for those of us wanting to look on the bright side of life in an emotionally and experientially balanced way, we just feel better about life than you do, and experience it with more gratitude, awe, hope and joy… and science shows, we reap the benefits in doing so.