A Universal Top 10 List to Improve Your Business


As humans we are all more productive when we are in a positive state of mind.  You are more productive in your business when you’re experiencing positive emotions than when you’re feeling negative emotions.    At some point you have probably heard (or experienced) the phrase “We are on a roll” because of a series of good events.   Conversely, you also may be familiar with term “We can’t catch a break” which would be negative.

The first thing we all need to accept is that it is impossible and frankly unhealthy to not experience some negative emotions or events in your life and or business.    Studies have shown that if try to completely block out negative emotions, we restrict the flow of positive emotions, partly because not processing the negative is like adding fuel to a fire.

The good thing about negative emotions and feelings is that they cause us to narrow our focus and try to solve a problem.    Doctor’s don’t poke your body during an examination and ask “Is this where it doesn’t hurt?”    Of course not, if your body is experiencing pain, you want to find the source and eliminate it!

So we need to accept that everything isn’t always going to be positive and with the negative hits we can actually leverage the natural response of narrowing our focus and efforts to finding the source and resolving it….which would results in something positive.

“Negative emotions narrow and restrict our attention in our behaviors. Whereas positive emotions broaden our attention and ultimately our behaviors”.   Bill Turpin, PBCA Master Coach

Barbara Fredrickson from University of North Carolina is one of the most respected authorities on this topic.   Her research discovered when it comes to positive emotions there is actually a Top 10 List that is considered Universal across all cultures and demographics.   For global companies it provides a tool that has no boundaries.

Top 10 Universal Positive Emotions:

  • Joy
  • Gratitude
  • Serenity
  • Interest
  • Hope
  • Pride
  • Amusement
  • Inspiration
  • Awe
  • Love

Can you leverage this in your business?

Research has shown that when people are experiencing positive emotions the mind is open to taking on more challenges and is more creative and productive.    But unfortunately, we are wired to remember the negative more than the positive.   Scientists call this “Negativity Bias”.  Think about social media and the news….do most of the stories produce positive or negative feelings?

Seriously, the news can often be downright depressing.   What about political campaigns? …most will profess to dislike the negative ads, but they are the ones that stick in our minds and influence voters.

The reality is most of us experience significantly more positive emotions than negative, but they are often more subtle and you could even say we simply take them for granted…and so they don’t stick with us.  One way to counter the Negativity Bias of our brains is to more directly inject things that are positive.

Give this a try…(and No,  it doesn’t require everyone holding hands or singing in a circle)   😉

Share the top 10 list with your company.   Create a positive email address [email protected] or go old school with a jar or box.  When someone experiences a positive emotion during the day, have them shoot off an email or drop a note in the jar.  Then, once a week, month, or whatever is appropriate share the comments with your company.   You might be surprised how much something as simple as this might add a spark to the attitudes of your team.

What do you think?  Is this something you could use to improve the awareness of the good things going on in your business?  In your personal life?  Could it help soften the blow of unavoidable negativity?   As always we value your thoughts and any feedback.

Chris Steinlage Kansas City Business Coach