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037: Mutually Beneficial Happiness: The Power of Focusing on the Positive

podcast May 29, 2021


Negativity Bias has been studied in a number of different fields and it’s affecting your happiness and quality of life.  “Something very positive will generally have less of an impact on a person's behavior and cognition than something equally emotional but negative.” 

We have all been in the situation where we dwell on the negative, even though many positives surround us. A common theme for business owners is in the form of online reviews, especially from garbage sites like Yelp, where we’ll get 20 great reviews and that one not-so-hot one that was often out of our control anyway. All of the praise goes in one ear and out the other, while we, unfortunately, dwell on the negative.  

You have to develop thick skin though, let things go, but still watch for any reoccurring problems or issues that may come up.  Business for us is personal, but we do need to find where we draw that line of taking things personal and understanding that some people are just projecting their negative situation on everyone around them.  

The granddaddy of Flow, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, says that: 

So the 185 billion events to be enjoyed over our mortal days might be either an overestimate or an underestimate. If we consider the amount of data the brain could theoretically process, the number might be too low; but if we look at how people actually use their minds, it is definitely much too high. In any case, an individual can experience only so much. Therefore, the information we allow into consciousness becomes extremely important; it is, in fact, what determines the content and the quality of life.”~  (1990, p. 30) 

The quality of our life is affected by what we allow into it. If we allow these negative thoughts to dominate us and take up space in our minds, that affects our quality of life. It’s your job to protect your quality of life. No one else if really looking out for your happiness.  

The best way to go about guarding this happiness, is to search out ways that are mutually beneficial for other people. In many problems that come up in my businesses, I aim to always search for a way that will be mutually beneficial.  

Only focusing on my happiness will come at the detriment to the people I surround myself with. I am truly happier when my wife is happier, my kids are happier, my employees are happier, my business acquaintances are happier.   

We have to understand that this isn’t a zero-sum game and the cliché of ‘it’s lonely at the top’ is real. I’m striving to climb that hill, just like every other entrepreneur and self-employed business person out there, but I realize that I’ll be a lot happier if I have my little tribe along with me for the journey.  

So as you aim to build a consistent High Flow Lifestyle, focus on keeping the positive things in your headspace, and focus on protecting that quality of life by making sure the people you surround yourself with are happy.  

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