An excerpt from Katherine Richardson's interview on leading with empathy during a time of crisis:
We believe that when we focus on developing our strengths, we can achieve better outcomes than when trying to eliminate our weaknesses. When we tap into our character strengths – the positive parts of our personality that impact how we think, feel and behave – we can better handle stress, we become happier and more confident, we develop more meaningful relationships and we are noticeably more engaged at work. Identifying and exercising our strengths is helping us navigate these uncertain times with positivity and hope.
Social psychology research also tells us that about 50 percent of our happiness is linked to our genetics and only 10 percent of happiness is attributed to life circumstances. That means that about 40 percent of our overall happiness is within our capacity to change. This is a powerful concept, especially now.
By replacing pessimism with more positive thoughts and experiences – expressing gratitude, nurturing social connections and taking care of oneself – people can learn how to become more optimistic. The benefits of this mindset include better relationships, health, coping, performance and more overall positive emotions. And the most optimistic thing about optimism is that it involves skills that can be learned and put into practice.