Should We Spread Our Joy?


Let me just get my answer out there. OF COURSE!

Sometimes I meet people who are traditionally happy and joyous throughout the year, but who, for reasons of not wanting to upset other people, suddenly downplay their natural positivity in the month of December. As I say, these are the kind of people who are naturally upbeat, positive and happy. Having empathy for others who may not be going through the best of times around December, and Christmas in particular, they go against their nature and act subdued.

I believe there’s another line of thinking which justifies sharing our own happiness and joy with whomever we interact. This is the act of being true to ourselves, and if that means our actions, words, tone of voice, smiling faces and overall positivity is in stark contrast to some others, it can have a startling affect.

For starters, being positive can uplift people. After all, do you want to be around people who are gloomy, sullen and suck energy or would you rather choose to be around people who energize you, make you smile,  bring you happiness just by being in their midst? These are the very people Scrooge once said, “…should be boiled in his own Christmas pudding”; the ones who go around wishing everyone a merry Christmas.

Now I’ve also heard the argument that because unemployed and impoverished people are affected so greatly by the season, which often accentuates their feelings of want and need, we should scale back on spreading our personal joy. Well, again, I disagree. I’m not insensitive, it’s just that being impoverished or out of work doesn’t automatically mean a person must go around looking down. In fact, some of the happiest and most positive people I’ve met live in poverty. They aren’t happy about their financial status of course, but they’ve realized that their financial status is only one part of their lives. There are many other facets of their lives which bring them joy. Why allow this one area to dominate who they are and how they view themselves? They choose happiness and positivity.

Yes, I’d rather be known as a fellow who wears a smile, stays positive and is good to be around than the opposite. Of course yes, one has to exercise some good judgement here too. When someone is talking about their bleak situation and out of politeness asks how I’m doing, I wouldn’t go over the top telling them about plans to have some big extravagant party to celebrate the season or how my investments were tripling my income. (They aren’t by the way; oh to be so lucky!)

No, I’d exercise some decorum; show some restraint in what to share, but I’d still have a smile on my face and tell them in answer to their question that I was just fine and thank them for asking.

The second argument I make for being positive, happy and merry is that it reminds people of what is possible when they may have forgotten. Don’t assume this is a given. Sometimes when we lose what we once had, we all need reminding of it’s value and in the case of happiness, merriment and positivity, they can all come again; for everyone.

When I’ve worked Christmas eve at work, those making the choice to drop in to our employment resource centre are typically either in for solace and sanctuary or to wish us the greetings of the season; a very merry Christmas. If they can do so, I certainly will wish them nothing but the same; that they too find merriment and happiness both then and the year ’round. Sometimes we’ve sat down not as clients and staff, but as people – (a rather significant distinction) and shared a drink, a bite or two and some laughs.

Being poor doesn’t mean one must by association be of any one mood. You’ll find sadness, regret, joy and happiness, neutrality and the entire gambit of emotions. Why? Why precisely because the opposite is true. Among the wealthy you won’t universally find decadence, happiness, positivity and an entire void of stress. It isn’t money that brings happiness; it’s within us to be what we choose to be – that which makes us feel as we choose.

I will continue to positive, be happy and be joyous. Don’t think me insensitive, don’t attempt to shame me into being anything I’m genuinely not. My smile is there for anyone that chooses to see it as an outward expression of my state of mind. I also find that a smile on one face tends to bring one out on another. The opposite is also true by the way..

So do I wish you a merry Christmas on this fourth of December? Do I hope you have the best day possible? Do I trust you find happiness this day and each other day? YES!

By the way, ever been served by someone in the course of conducting some business who is robotic? You know, they do their job but there’s no human emotion, no smile, no genuine appreciation for your business. Have you not thought to yourself, “It wouldn’t hurt you to smile a little?” Ah, you have? Then you understand entirely and you get it. Good for you.

Be that beacon of happiness, that one person who goes about their work with a smile and is genuinely appreciative of others. It will work wonders for your mental health.

Lets Talk A Positive Attitude


Saying you have a positive attitude in a cover letter and resume might help land that big interview. When sitting in the interview itself, it will probably do serve you well to say it again just to reinforce the point. What however, does a positive attitude look like on the job? How would you prove by example to an interviewer that you bring this positivity to the workplace?

In other words, supposing you were asked, “Give us an example from your previous position where your positive attitude was tested.” Would you be able to answer this question? What would you say then?

You see it’s easy to say that you bring a positive attitude to work on a daily basis. To be believed however, you’ll need to have at a moments notice, a real, tangible example, (several would be ideal) of specific situations where your positive attitude was on display. A situation where your attitude was tested simply means that the situation or atmosphere in which you found yourself in the story you are about to relate was trying and where it might have been easy to join with others and be negative or complacent. The best answer for you could be where your positive attitude had the impact of changing for the better the mood and attitude of others around you; thereby increasing productivity overall.

Now you shouldn’t be surprised at this question if the job ad specifically mentions a positive culture, a winning attitude, etc. While it’s perfectly fine to pause when asked each question to gather your thoughts, you certainly don’t want a long, extended delay which could be interpreted as not having any specific examples to give at all; seemingly having come unprepared. Why, a very long pause could also give an Interviewer the feeling that what they will eventually hear is fabricated, made up, invented and never happened at all.

It is in the face of adversity; or in moments when you receive news that throws you off – such as having the boss tell you you’re doing something completely different on a given day than what you’d been looking forward to – that tests your positive attitude. The organizations that specifically go out recruiting people with positive attitudes believe that with the addition of such people, the workplace in which their employees create will itself become a more positive place to work.

I for one learned when I was in my 20’s that surrounding myself with positive people when possible was much preferable to being around negative thinkers; people who often cast a pall over conversations. I’d rather celebrate a sunny day than have someone point out there’s rain coming tomorrow. Now sure, there are times when people have good reasons to be less than positive. Having a positive attitude doesn’t mean you walk around with a smile no matter the circumstances, living in your own fantasy world. That’s artificial and really doesn’t need much effort if it’s your everyday, all-situations disposition.

People with a positive attitude however will generally be optimistic, look for the upside when possible, and they are generally good people to be around. Would you like to come to work surround by positive people or choose rather to surround yourself with others who’ve created a toxic environment of negativity?

Throughout your day, most of us have interactions with other people; be they on the telephone, in-person, video links etc., or what we choose to read in texts, blogs, newspapers, etc. In many of these situations, we have full control over what we read, what we say, how long we engage or remove ourselves. Some people advocate that if you’re feeling down you stop reading newspapers, stop listening to the news on the radio, remove yourself from the cancerous conversations in the workplace and in so doing, you cut your own exposure to the negative.

I think it’s important to know what’s going on in the world, some of which is bad. It’s equally good to know what might be happening with a co-worker you’ve come to value and appreciate that’s caused them to be sad, troubled or worried about. The challenge is to display empathy, express your concern and still remain a positive person yourself without allowing your attitude to dip. Telling someone to bear up and look on the bright side of things isn’t going to be helpful when they really just need to be heard, their feelings validated and above all listened to.

The situations you want to avoid are those where you hear a couple of people questioning the motives of Management, some are spreading gossip, rumours or you’ve got some co-workers who have become jaded in their views of their clients or customers. “They are all scamming!” “Everyone is cheating the system!” “It’s us against them you know old buddy boy!” Walk away clean my friend; walk away clean.

Positive people don’t wear rose-coloured glasses all the time. What positive people do is give the benefit of the doubt, be good role models for others, and most importantly, they attract other positive people to themselves simply by gaining a reputation for being a positive person in general.

Everyone has their moments and their days. Do you have the skill necessary to be self-aware and catch yourself slipping away from your usual positive self and correcting your own behaviour? That would be a great example to share.