You are uniquely gifted, spirited, and capable.

But do you speak to yourself as if those things are true? In a culture where social media is constantly inundating our brains, self doubt rears its ugly head in almost every area of our lives. Because we’re now more likely than ever to compare ourselves with one another, we’re far less gracious to our individual selves. We’re more likely to speak to ourselves in a harsh, condemning manner—a manner in which we would feel awful speaking to our friends.

This is a big problem. 

One of my favorite books, one I revisit my notes in often, is called “The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance.” (You can get the cliff notes by listening to the author Shawn Achor’s Ted Talk)

In the book, Achor writes, “Happiness implies a positive mood in the present and a positive outlook for the future.” The book is a comprehensive scientific study about how positive emotions affect our brain functions and change our behavior. He believes a positive attitude is essential for happiness, which is essential for success. 

The encouraging news is choosing a positive outlook isn’t dependent on our circumstances. Achor tell us that, “Once we realize how much of our reality depends on how we view it, it comes as less of a surprise that our external circumstances predict only about 10% of our total happiness.” 

It’s all about the lenses we wear. 

There's a song called “La Vie en Rose”, which translates as “to see life through rose colored glasses.” The idea is to view life with a blanket of optimism, or to perceive life in a positive light, often thinking of it as better than it actually is. I loved this song long before I understood the content, and it’s stayed with me most my life. I’m grateful, as I’ve needed the steady reminder the longer life’s thrown its punches at me.

And the truth is, we all need the steady reminder. 

We are constantly in charge of making the choice to pick positivity or the negative voices in our head. 

Put on your rose-colored glasses. Know and feel empowered that you can choose to extend your perception beyond your circumstances. I dare you to choose joy at every turn today, despite what weighs on you. Pay attention to the negative thoughts that enter your mind and kindly ask them to leave. You may find yourself feeling not only happier, but more present, and thus more productive. 

lauren ledbetter