I have always enjoyed doing creative things, whether it be writing or choreographing or crafting, but I recently went through a period of feeling extremely uninspired and disheartened. I googled ways to spark creativity. I looked around my house for any sort of project to engage in, trying anything I could think of to jump-start my inspiration. Instead, I found myself wasting too much time lying in bed, repeatedly scrolling through the explore page on Instagram.
Then one afternoon I spent some time with a friend who has started making one piece of art per week in order to combat the negative feelings she’s been experiencing about the current state of the world. Just by talking to her about the projects she was working on, I started to get all sorts of ideas of my own.
If feeling inspired and creative is a product of surrounding oneself with inspiring and creative people, I started to wonder if this wouldn’t be the same for other attributes such as humor, optimism, generosity, and happiness?
Behavior, attitudes, and principals are contagious in a wide variety of situations. During social interactions, people have countless ways of affecting each other through personality mirroring, subconscious mimicry, and contagion.
Is Positivity Contagious?
Shawn Achor is the founder of GoodThink.Inc and a prominent researcher, author, and speaker on happiness and the power of positive psychology. Our team has previously participated in his “3 gratitude” challenge, as a part of his 6 daily happiness exercises to create a happier workplace. Shawn recently asked his Twitter followers to participate in a research project by sharing examples with him of how they have been positively influenced by people around them.
Help me with my latest research, how have you been influenced positively by those around you? (reply here or email email@example.com) pic.twitter.com/mfuA2sYzWn
— Shawn Achor (@shawnachor) November 22, 2016
We sent Shawn’s questions out to our team at Blue Beyond and asked them to share their experiences with us. The results we received were both heartening and inspiring, allowing us to take time to reflect on and be grateful for those who positively influence our lives.
The most important lesson I took away from reading our team’s responses is that we tend to pick up the personality traits of those around us.
Kate remarked how the diligence of her coworkers helps her stay diligent, and that spending time with funny friends brings out her humorous side. Whitney said that motivation in others is contagious and how when she sees someone smile, she smiles back. Liana remarked that she tends to eat healthier when out with friends who choose to eat healthy. Melea shared that kindness and generosity are contagious and that when her partner began bringing in tea and chocolates to the office, other workers began doing the same.
Gretchen also referenced how the influence of negativity can lead to positivity, commenting “I even learn from the people I see behaving badly…every day we have the opportunity to be positively influenced by each interaction we have.”
One of our most primal instincts as humans is to adapt, so it only makes sense that we would grow to adapt to the influence of those around us, and even begin to pick up their habits as our own. That’s even more reason to surround yourself with people who inspire, motivate, and bring positivity to your life!
To see the full responses of our team members, view this slideshow: