When that co-worker, friend, or relative gets that promotion, new house, or get married before you do, it’s time to celebrate! Positive psychology supports that celebrating others, instead of comparing yourself to them, is a better strategy for moving forward in life. It’s a subtle brain-training activity that wires you for success.
I’ll admit that I didn’t always have this attitude to others winning. I’ve been fortunate to be a high achiever in most areas of my life and this leads me to be a very driven person. I valued myself on living up the consistent success I experienced and as a result, it was hard for me to understand that the success other wasn’t an indication of my failure. They did not somehow steal an opportunity from me.
It also doesn’t help when society teaches us to compare ourselves to each other. Parents and friends say things like, “Why can’t you be more like (fill in the blank).” There are few things more damaging to a child’s self-esteem than statements like these.
“Happy thoughts and positive thinking, in general, support brain growth, as well as the generation and reinforcement of new synapses, especially in your prefrontal cortex (PFC), which serves as the integration center of all of your brain-mind functions.”
It goes on to explain that,”...what we think, do, and say matters; that it affects who we become on the outside, the inside, and in our brain. Mostly, it means that you can retrain your brain to be more positive.”
Here are three reasons why you should start celebrating when other people win:
It trains your brain for optimism - An optimistic view in life, including towards the success of others, rewires your brain for success. A study by the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine actually found links between a positive attitude and improved physical health, which ultimately puts you in a great position for creating a success of your own.
Your story is not contingent on theirs - There are more than 7 billion people on the planet. Someone just finished writing a book somewhere, while someone else celebrates finishing their 8th beer. Their success (or failure) does not change your chance for a great life, that’s still up to you.
Their success is not your failure - Your sister getting married does not mean that you’ve failed at life. It just means she got married. Independent of you, it’s a milestone that you can be a great support to her in.
QUESTION: How do you train yourself to think more positively?
This Forbes article is one of many that shares great ways of training your brain to go positive instead of negative. Do you already do this? Comment below or email me to let me know what you currently do to train your brain to be more positive. You can also subscribe to my newsletter for bonus tips and resources on self-leadership and work-life balance or follow my podcast - The Pocket Potential.