I think at heart I have always been a Positive Psychologist. Long before I had ever heard the title Positive Psychology I was very much a disciple of that way of thinking. I heard it said many times “You’re the most positive person around” and “Why are you always smiling?” I could never fully understand why the people around me never saw things the way I did. It felt like I was a spark of positivity in a vast ocean of negativity. I often found myself being drawn in to that world and joining in with conversations deemed to “put the world to rights”.
I always felt there had to be another way. Shawn Achor put it well in his book “The Happiness Advantage” when he said the first way is to just carry on and languish in life where nothing ever changes, or you can get very anxious and let the world drag you down. Or there is a third way, a way in which you can work on improving your life and make a conscious effort to improve your overall happiness. I was always drawn to books, films and music which sent a message of happiness, but there just seemed so few of them.
A few years ago, a friend introduced me to Coursera, a website offering free short courses submitted by various Universities, mostly in the USA. It was an ideal place to learn about business and I took a few short courses on Leadership, strategy, and such like. And then I started looking around at what other courses were available and got engrossed in courses as diverse as Astronomy, History, Music and Psychology. A new world was opening for me, I was becoming addicted to learning.
In summer 2015 a course came up run by a guy called Raj Raghunathan entitled “If you’re so smart then why aren’t you happy?” Over 6 weeks I was totally absorbed in the concept of happiness and living a positive life. It was as though a course had been written just for me, I resonated with almost every concept. I wasn’t alone in a sea of negativity, there were others that thought like me, I just had to find them.
I saw an ad on Meet up about living a happier life, so I went along to a meeting run by Positive Psychology Learning, set up by two graduates, Dan and Lesley who had completed a Master’s degree in Positive Psychology. Suddenly I was in a room talking about happiness and positivity. I loved it, so much so that a year later I am on the same Master’s degree course.
One of the first things I noticed once I had started these courses is how my mindset changed and I was noticing so much more. I realised that there are a lot of positive people in my life but in the past, they were being drowned out by the negative ones. Just a simple change in mindset and I was now tuning in more to the positive people and appreciating what they have to offer.
I know I haven’t gone through some miracle transformation and I still get times when I get drawn in to negative situations where I find myself complaining a little more than I should. But I now feel I have a purpose and a direction. I want others to feel like I do and find out what happiness really is. I am at the beginning of an exciting journey, but so far am relishing every step.
‘We Are The Positive Psychology People’