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Be You

Advice from Basia Najarro Skudrzyk

· leadership,wellness,mental health,positive,management

Originally published on and

Many people want to be happy. How do we obtain happiness? I believe instead of aiming to be happy, perhaps trying to achieve positive optimism is something to consider. During negative emotional states, a positive person can seem a bit unrealistic. Frankly, sometimes annoying, right? In order to move past pain or sadness, the most realistic approach is to receive it and know it’s a temporary state.

A positively optimistic person will remain committed to the outcome by seeing a bright future ahead knowing they have to endure a little bit of the setback, loss and rejection that comes along with the journey. In order to maintain this state, accepting the feeling and accepting it as temporary is the healthiest and best way to recover and move forward. Everyone gets sad and it seems to be a popular companion these days. When this discomfort starts creeping in, we crave for that happiness to kick in, but somehow that happiness has gone on its own independent vacation and becomes as unsteady as the chaos of the world we are all feeling right now.

Vishen Lakhani describes it as, “Happiness is a state change. Positive optimism, on the other hand, is a stage evolution.”

People can be happy in an instant on the right medication or environment, but can quickly crash if there is a chemical imbalance or huge life event. This is a state change. Speaking to a healthcare expert is key to understand what steps need to be taken to best help and manage these critical feelings and experiences. Stage changes are here for the stay. They do not change and are irreversible. They ultimately provide the wisdom we acquire through the uncomforts of life. This may be a healthier and wiser way to deal with the occasional “companions” of sadness, grief, loss and change. Even during sadness, the future will be okay.

If you have ever overworked yourself to oblivion to make the pain go away this scenario may sound all too familiar. Did you ever have a project that you needed to complete and you just couldn’t stop? One project fed into two…three…maybe ten? Even if you’re tired, restless and really don’t have any more energy; your mind and body keep pushing to do more and override the imbalance that your life is experiencing and does not allow you to think clearly and be healthy. You don’t ask for help. You do it all yourself, but it comes with a price. You collapse. You have a choice to fall further, or you fall hard, learn and then get back up again.

“The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you are uncool.” (Quote from “Almost Famous” - Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character, Lester Bangs).

This is the dynamic you want to create in your environment and team. You need to create a safe space where people can celebrate the good times and lean on each other when moments are difficult. It’s critical to have an environment where people can feel safe enough to ask for support and help and know they will receive it. Feeling vulnerable as much as happy is key to healthy work and family environments.

Sometimes we don’t want to make our pain infect our environment. Instead we mask it and keep working hard trying to make the pain go away. Unfortunately, the pain transfers through with or without knowledge. By trying to hide the pain from others, we inadvertently create more pain. Vulnerability is very uncomfortable and that’s why it’s hard. However, it’s the marker of the truly great ones. Happiness may be a choice, but it requires work. This involves the individual and their environment. So next time, when you think something is impossible, create some space, and realize “I’m possible.”

An optimistic life is about believing in the best, through the worst. At the end of the day, it’s about believing in the power of good, not bad. It’s about turning off the negativity, whether it flows from your mind, your environment, or your social media.

Failure is not the end; in fact it is often the beginning of something great. When things are bad, these events require us to grow, see new things and start afresh. Optimism allows us to learn from failures, pick up the pieces and move on to something greater. The greatest business ideas, and times in life, can be born from failure.

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment – Ralph Waldo Emerson