mz-photo I was asked to speak to a group of professionals on how positivity can be a driver for high performance – a subject I love, wrote about and most importantly lived. When I was young, I smiled often, a habit originating from my grandmother who always rewarded me for giving her a flower. This was a daily affair and a very happy business for young me to smile about. When my grandmother suddenly died, I lost my smile and told my mom that I would give back all the money she gave me if she woke up. My mom explained that my grandmother got much more happiness from my smile than from the flower. I wondered how a smile – something that cost nothing, was little effort and of which I had infinite supply could give my grandma and mom so much happiness. I gradually understood and ever since, my smile came back and has never left.

As I grew up, I realized that a smile has powerful impact on people and I now believe it is the inherent power of positive energy. It got me through my grandma’s death and many difficult moments throughout my life. Life has a tendency to take us back and forth from magnificent heights to inglorious lows. So having the power to navigate life’s ups and downs is critical to surviving the journey. But we need more than surviving; and a positive attitude is one of the ways we can all practice to not only help us through the difficult moments, but generate the positive energy that fills us up with strength, hope and generosity. Energy that will lift us up above our small selves and make us soar, and be part of life’s best.

In a world of negative news, personal confusion and imperfection, developing a positive attitude is a serious challenge. However, the choice before us is clear: Do we simply live a mere reflection of the life that is all around us or do we do more and try to shape it? No matter how tough, how unfair or unlucky life is, the choice must be to try to shape it. I believe we must try hard and sincerely be positive all the time, in all cases and without exception. I have no idea why people don’t even try to be positive! I grew up in a part of the world where there are overwhelming circumstances to be negative, depressed and hopeless, but I always felt that I had a choice to be positive and that is where I went because it made me feel better and stronger.

Every time I let negativity inside, especially when things don’t go my way, I feel unhappy, stressed and weaker. And worse, I become a downer for the people around me. Thank God it does not happen often and when it happens I turn it into a learning moment on positivity. I stay positive by lowering the heat around me, reducing the drama, stop making myself the centre of the issue and ensuring I’m part of a cause bigger than myself by lending a hand and giving back. This is not always easy and readily present in our consciousness but perseverance and practice makes perfect. Keep in mind what someone wise once said – all the water of the ocean can’t sink the smallest of boats until the water gets inside it. Likewise, all the negativity of the world can’t bring you down unless you allow it to get inside you.

There is considerably much research that highlights the health benefits of being positive. Benefits such as being happier, more content, and smarter. Yes positive people are relatively smarter with higher performance than negative ones, the research suggests. So, venture into the “all-knowing” Google and explore the cool world of positive energy.

In my experience when you focus on and enable the positivity in others you’ll discover the positivity inside yourself. Actually it’s one of the best ways to grow your positive energy and the corresponding quality of your life. That’s an awesome deal, don’t you think?!

If you find it difficult to kick start your positive journey, try meditation or yoga. Yoga works for me, it keeps me calm, centered and positive. Generally, I’m optimistic and some of my optimism comes from my environment, my family & friends who seem to be energized, refreshed and engaged when I share a warm smile, a positive thought, a happy song, or a simple act of kindness. If you have not done so, try it today and your life personally and professionally will change forever!

With love.