Happiness is driving in the fast lane

Happiness is driving in the fast lane

I was on my way to a speak at a conference recently when I noticed, driving along the freeway, that although I”m a relatively cautious driver who conscientiously stays within the speed limit it was actually quite challenging to stay within the legal boundaries because everyone else around me seemed to be speeding. At the risk of sounding too much like a goody-two-shoes it seems sometimes that I”m the only driver in Sydney who stays under the speed limit.

But it also served to prompt me to reflect, as I often do, and my thoughts turned to a situation in which the opposite is also true. That is, when caught in heavy traffic or a traffic jam, when everyone is (not necessarily by choice) driving relatively slowly it’s difficult, if not impossible, at those times to drive quickly.

It wasn”t long before my thinking had progressed to the realisation that the same principles apply just as much in many other areas of life.

If, or when, we”re surrounded by negative, pessimistic people who lack passion or energy, then we can be pulled back or slowed down by those around us. In contrast, if we”re living or working with others who are positive and inspirational then it’s almost impossible not to be pulled along in their wake; inspired by their energy and enthusiasm.

So what can we learn from this?

What we can learn is a lesson that’s well established within the positive psychology and happiness research which is that happy and successful people tend to surround themselves and have more relationships with other happy and successful people. Happy people know that it’s good to spend time with other happy people; and positive and successful organisations know that it’s important to develop and foster high energy, collaborative teams.

Now this doesn”t mean we should abandon or ignore family or friends in need – those who might be going through a difficult time or those who”re depressed or unwell. But it does mean that we”ll almost certainly enjoy more happiness and positivity in our lives if we actively work to harness the energy and enjoy the company more often of those who live in the “fast lane”.

And I”m not talking about “fast living” here (such as sex, drugs and rock and roll); nor am I advocating hedonism! But rather, I”m referring to spending time with those people who (consciously or unconsciously) practice the proven principles of positive psychology such as living a life with purpose; such as practising healthy habits; such as thinking optimistically and fostering positive relationships; such as enjoying and appreciating life in all it’s glory.