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The Science of Igniting and Sustaining Positive Change
- Read in 10 minutes
- Audio & text available
- Contains 6 key ideas
Broadcasting Happiness (2015) reveals the huge impact positivity has on productivity, teamwork and well-being. These blinks explain how you can communicate positive thoughts to send ripples of happiness through your community, your workplace and within your relationships.
Key idea 1 of 6
Your memories of past experiences and situations determine how you approach future challenges.
When you see the word “job,” what is the first thing you think of? Whether a funny memory from your very first position or an unpleasant event from a recent job, each person has flash memories that can shape the way you think about a particular subject or theme.
Words trigger different flash memories in different people. The word “success” might make one individual reflect on a ceremony where he won an award, while another person might think of the moment she finally finished a huge project.
These thoughts aren’t simply memories, but a reflection of each individual's attitude toward success.
In this fashion, positive flash memories can actually create positive attitudes. But how do we create positive flash memories? Simple: by creating positive experiences!
That’s exactly what Sunnyside High School superintendent Dr. Richard Cole decided to do. His school was notorious for its poor graduation rate, which by 2007 had fallen to 41 percent.
Cole knew that both students and teachers wallowed in a culture of low expectations. To combat this, he worked to give everyone at the school an attitude makeover.
How did he do this? By sharing success stories wherever and whenever he could. Bulletin boards, newsletters and school announcements were filled with good news from the student body. This step was the beginning of a seven-year shift toward creating a positive learning environment.
By 2014, the school’s graduation rate had shot up to 89 percent. After leaving school, students no longer described their time at the school as miserable, but remembered classes and teachers fondly.
In other words, the student body developed positive flash memories that would serve each of them well as they moved on to college or a career.