Who would you be more inclined to say yes to, A or B?
(A) The person who shuffled up to you, looking at their shoes, and asked, “You wouldn’t want to go out with me would you?”
(B) The person who walked up, looked you in the eye and said hello, followed by, “I’ve been hoping we could get to know each other better. Would you like to have coffee this weekend?”
I knew a gal a while back who was out of a job for a long, long time. She had a good resume and decent prior work experience, but she was Person A above. Her self-esteem was in the toilet, she walked slumped over, and she just had an all-around unhappy appearance. I’ve never been a hiring manager, but I am certain that all things being equal, the applicant with even a shred more positive outlook would have won the job over this woman.
A positive perspective can do more than help you land a new job or prestigious client. It can also help a great deal with your own satisfaction in your work – whether you have an employer or are self-employed. There was a line cook at the cafeteria in the building where I worked in New York City who had the most amazing personality. He was friendly, remembered people’s names, and moved the line along quickly. He always seemed overqualified for the work, but who knows his reasons for being there? The point is, some might see that job as demeaning – yet this man wrung every drop of joy he could from it. I’ve seen pleasant letter carriers and those who should probably be locked in padded cells. Same with bus drivers, teachers, investment bankers, doctors, grocery clerks, and attorneys. It doesn’t matter what field you’re in – your job satisfaction really is up to you.
How Can a Positive Outlook Benefit You in Your Professional Life?
- Positivity helps reduce stress levels. As we mentioned in our last post, unchecked stress is a guaranteed ticket to ill health. And demanding jobs are full of stress. People who know how to keep their stress in check are much more likely to succeed in high-pressure roles.
- A positive outlook improves one’s skills as a problem-solver. Positive people can entertain all ideas while brainstorming, as opposed to shooting things down because “we tried that last year and it didn’t work,” making them more likely to succeed in any situation.
- A positive perspective can also boost productivity. The same skills that enable someone to be a good trouble-shooter lend themselves to resourcefulness and efficiency. Since this person is generally in a good mood, they want to get things done on time and well, as opposed to dragging their feet on a project, potentially causing a systemwide snafu.
- Positive individuals tend to be better decision-makers, if only because they trust themselves and their abilities more than people who lack confidence. A positive outlook can also help you see things more clearly so you can better balance the pros and cons of a given situation.
- People with a positive perspective generally have better people skills, meaning they are able to interact well (or at least efficiently) with a wide cross-section of individuals. They find it easier to make friends and develop new relationships, which is always a plus in a professional setting.
- Positive individuals receive criticism objectively and act on it. A guy I used to work with in the sports department at a major newspaper received a poor mid-year review. Rather than get down on himself or angry at his boss, he took the advice, turned things around, and had a perfect year-end review. This couldn’t have happened if he’d had a negative attitude going in.
- Positive people tend to be lifelong learners. Rather than thinking they already know it all, they believe they can learn something from almost any situation. This open-minded outlook helps with acquiring new skills and also makes people infinitely more promotable.
- People with a positive attitude understand the difference between confidence and cockiness. Confidence comes out of self-knowledge and self-awareness; cockiness derives from poor self-esteem and a need to prove oneself. It isn’t always the best person for the job who gets the promotion – but the person who projects themself in the best light, with confidence as opposed to a know-it-all attitude. That same confidence will also enable this person to step up and put their name forward for leadership roles, difficult projects, and workplace challenges.
- Positive people are much more resilient than their negative colleagues. Life being life, it will occasionally hurl a curveball our way. Those who know the world is ultimately on their side and not out to get them will weather a downsizing, job loss, or unanticipated transfer much more gracefully than those who feel like everyone is always out to get them.
Could having a more positive outlook improve your professional life?
One way to increase your positivity – and improve your health – would be to take part in the 30-Day Positivity Challenge. This is a 30-day series of exercises that gives participants a variety of assignments conducive to feeling better, overall. According to inspirational speaker Abraham Hicks, “Few realize that they can control the way they feel and positively affect the things that come into their life experience by deliberately directing their thoughts.” Abraham Hicks says we accomplish this by simply “reach[ing] for a better feeling thought.”
The choice is yours: Will you opt for positivity?