Neuroplasticity has added science to the age-old debate of nature or nurture. For centuries we have debated whether our personalities are ‘pre-wired’ or are the result of the environment and experiences we are exposed to.
Neuroplasticity is the science that explains how our brains develop. Research in the last 20 years explains how new pathways are developed in our brain. This science rebukes the belief that our potential is biologically fixed. Neuroplasticity dispels the belief that once our brain reaches maturity, it is pointless trying to change it.
“Once our brains were discovered to have built-in plasticity, our potential for intellectual and personal growth suddenly became equally malleable.” (Anchor, ‘The Happiness Advantage’, 2006)
No longer can people hide behind “You can’t teach an old dog!’ or “I’m just not wired to be positive!” Studies have confirmed there are numerous ways we can permanently raise our happiness levels and adopt a more positive mindset.
I’ve just finished reading Harvard lecturer Shawn Anchor’s brilliant book, “The Happiness Advantage”. In it Anchor emphasises the importance of our happiness on the outcomes we achieve.
“Data abounds showing that happy workers have higher levels of productivity, produce higher sales, perform better in leadership positions and receive higher performance ratings and higher pay. They also enjoy more job security and are less likely to take sick days, to quit, or to become burned out. Happy CEOs are more likely to lead teams of employees who are both happy and healthy and who find their work climate conducive to high performance. The list of the benefits of happiness in the workplace goes on and on.” (Anchor, 2010, p. 41)
Apart from all the data supporting outcomes, happy people are simply easier to work with! Cynical people drain us of energy. Their negativity is contagious and counter-productive. I’m certain that you know the type – they light up the room…when they leave!