Amy Dix is an international speaker, best-selling author and avid entrepreneur who aims to “inspire others to live life on a different level, rooted in positivity and pure happiness.” She’s committed to spreading both the science and the art of positivity as far as she can through her writing and her company called The Positive Life Company that she co-founded with Joel Pilka, who wants everyone to wear rose-colored glasses.
A 2013 survey of Americans by Statista found that only 4 percent owned up to being pessimists. Fifty percent identified as optimists, while 43 percent counted themselves “somewhere in between.” They probably call themselves realists, as well, since humans are hard-wired to fear bad news more than we expect good news. As commentator George Will once put it, “The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised.”
But the benefits of being positive outweigh the benefits of being right: positive people are usually healthier, happier, and often, more successful than their gloomy counterparts. Amy Dix believes positivity is not something we’re born with; it’s something we choose. She says, “at its core, positivity is defined by choice. It is a personal decision we make 100 times a day. I believe we can identify when we are or are not being positive and change our behavior. Sometimes it is hard work in the moment, for sure, but for me it is a much less stressful, more authentic way of living in the long term.”
Her daily practice for creating more positivity includes apace for self-examination, goal setting, and the deliberate practice of choosing to be positive. Those are the inward facing principles that help you pave the way to more positive thinking.
Her prescription also includes simple ways to spread positivity within your sphere of influence. She cites research by psychologist Barbara Fredrickson on what she calls “The Golden Ratio,” the 3-to-1 ratio of positive to negative emotions humans need to thrive and experience true happiness. Fortunately, the ability to create positive emotions in ourselves and others is well within our reach – many times a day.
Dix recommends that we express positive feelings to people around us. Tell a colleague that you value her work. Thank server who gets your coffee for providing a delicious start to your day. Praise your children for doing the right thing. Tell your partner you love them. Call your mom just because. These interactions make both ourselves and others feel good, and they take almost no time at all.
Dix also recommends that we take time to commit acts of kindness that make your community a better place. Take a moment to help a stranger with lifting something heavy into their car. Pay for someone’s coffee in the line behind you. Compliment a stranger on their outfit. Bring your neighbor’s garbage can up from the curb. Buy gift cards and hand them to crossing guards or others performing a valuable service for very little thanks.
Finally, Dix says, you can take steps to eliminate things that eat into your positivity. She says you have to make room for positive emotions so they can flow in. So eliminate a bad habit (even if it’s just for a day.) Skip the daily candy jar dip at work. Watch an hour less of television. Avoid the toxic coworker who never does anything but complain. Swap out an hour spent on social media for a walk in the fresh air.
Amy Dix believes that these small choices, made over and over, will gradually increase your happiness and that of the people you touch every day. The title of her book says it all: If you had just seven more days to live, would you want to feel the way you do today? If not, you have the ability to choose and change. In fact, she offers you the 5 Day Positivity Challenge here.
Find her book Seven More Days here.