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Optimism, pessimism and productivity

Is the glass half full or half empty? Exactly how are positivity and productivity related? In this post we dive into the effects of positivity and pessimism on productivity. In terms of productivity both mindsets can be advantageous in order to get things done. We will examine both sides and leave the verdict up to you.

Strategic optimism versus defensive pessimism

Strategic optimists are people who anticipate positive outcomes. They will do what is possible to ensure their result. Defensive pessimists are people who consider all the alternatives that could go wrong prior to performing a task, despite previous succes in the past.

Studies have shown that while people assume strategic optimists will outperform their negative counterparts, the defensive pessimists dit actually not perform any worse. They did however set lower expectations regarding verbal, analytical and creative tasks.

Positivity and productivity; a state of flow

When you are feeling well, and you have a good mental mindset, you will accomplish more. Research has shown that people who are more often in a state of flow are happier than people that don’t experience flow often. Flow is a state in which you are working on a challenging task, that is no to difficult and not to easy. Therefore you are forced to expand your horizon and broaden your limits. People can experience a flow while working, but also while on vacation or doing outdoor activities.

The effects of complaining

There is a lot of complaining in the workplace. For most of us, complaining seems like a harmless outlet of frustration. Yet it is proven that this type of negativity impairs memory, productivity and creativity.

Complaining is a habit which for most people is invisible to ourselves. We do it, without really knowing why. Most of the time, we are not aware of how often we complain or it’s negative effects on others.

Complaining shows a sense of personal powerlessness. On the other hand, problem solving enforces the belief that one has the power to create positive changes. By complaining less and acting more, you will become a more powerful person. Resisting the urge to complain can unlock new productivity and set a powerful personal change in motion.

Improve productivity with these 4 positivity steps

These 5 steps show you how positivity and productivity tie together. By using these tips to your advantage you will increase your productivity and output.

1.      Create a positive environment

Your physical environment has an impact on your mindset and wellbeing. Personalize your workspace with picture, add plant or take a souvenir from home. The positive feeling you attribute to those items help you to unlock creativity and productivity.

2.      Exercise

Exercising releases pleasure-inducing chemicals, known as endorphins. Exercise also helps improve motivation and a feeling of mastery, it helps reduce stress and anxiety. For me personally, exercising helps me “clear my head” and get into a state of flow.

3.      Use your strength

Each time you use a skill you are good at, you experience a positivity burst. More fulfilling is using a character strength; a trait that is embedded in who you are. Use your strengths to boost your optimism.

4.      Focus on gratitude

A lot of empirical studies have shown the effect that gratitude has on the way your brain is wired. Take 5 minutes each day and write down what you are grateful for that day. In this way, you tune yourself into positives and opportunities around you.

Optimist or pessimist?

In the end, there will always be both optimists and pessimists. Either you anticipate on a negative outcome or you dream of a grand vision with exceptional outcomes.

What is your take on positivity and productivity?

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