by Chris Haugen.
Our mission at Douglas Machine is to enrich lives by providing differentiated packaging automation and services. Our goal is to enrich the lives of all of our key stakeholders (employee owners, customers, supplier partners, community, etc.) by the work we do and how we do it. Each month Douglas has professional development sessions on topics that we think can help our employee owners develop professionally and personally. Last month the development session was focused on the power of positive thinking.
Positive thinking is a mental attitude in which we expect good and favorable results. It does not mean avoiding or ignoring the bad things; instead, it involves making the most of potentially difficult situations, trying to see the best in others and viewing yourself in a positive light.
During our session we talked about some of the research that has been done on the personal benefits of positive thinking. Research shows that individuals who utilize positive thinking consistently have a longer life span, lower blood pressure, improved pain tolerance and a greater resistance to illness than those who do not. Now what pill can do all that?
Research also shows that positive thinking allows individuals to be more creative and improves problem solving skills. One specific University of North Carolina study carried out an experiment with five groups of people who were each showed different images. Group 1 was shown images that triggered feelings of joy. Group 2 was shown images to make them feel content. Group 3 was shown images that were neutral. Group 4 was shown images that made them afraid and Group 5 was shown images designed to make them angry. Each group was given the same problem and asked to develop potential solutions to the problem. Groups 4 and 5 wrote down significantly fewer solutions than the other groups. Groups 1 and 2 wrote down the most potential solutions. This outcome demonstrated how feeling positive emotions helps individuals see more possibilities and options in dealing with problems.
The Impact of Positive Thinking at Douglas
The convincing data and research on the personal benefits of the power of positive thinking got us talking about how these things could translate into benefits in the workplace. Our Group came up with a long list of benefits that increased positive thinking can have at Douglas; including better service to our customers, improved teamwork, increased productivity, less sick days, better decision-making and an overall positive work environment.
So with all of these obvious benefits to us as individuals and to the company, why don’t we all think positively all the time? Shouldn’t it be a no brainer? The problem is that there are many things that can derail our positivity and cause us to go negative. As individuals, we each have somewhere between 15,000–50,000 thoughts per day. Research shows that on average, 80% of the thoughts we each have are negative. Our brains are built to remember and focus on bad experiences rather than positive ones. It’s an evolutionary advantage that helped our ancestors survive by avoiding danger. Some of the negative thoughts come from a fear of failure, anxiety, shame or victim thinking. These things hold us back from seeing all our options and choices that surround us every day.
Building a positivity habit isn’t easy, but there are many things we can do to help make it easier to stay positive. Some of the things the experts say we can do to help us build a habit of positivity include being thankful for the blessings in our life, surrounding ourselves with positive people, filling our minds with positive input from uplifting music, podcasts or meditation. We can work on controlling our language and be conscious of the words we use when speaking and thinking. We can be nice to others. We can smile more often and laugh. When we run into grumpy people who are seeing the world in a negative light, we must refuse to let them steal our joy and bring us down.
Designing and manufacturing differentiated packaging automation and services is fun, but very difficult. We frequently run into unexpected challenges that we need to overcome. We will effectively solve the problems we face if we are able to see all the options. If we have a positive thinking mindset, we will be more creative and innovative. We will more consistently deliver on our mission of enriching lives and have more fun in the process!
If you’d like to learn more about Douglas’ differentiated packaging automation and services, contact us today! And if you’re looking for more than a job where you can reach your goals and love your career, apply at Douglas today!