Happiness is all about perception
If I told you about the week we’ve had here at The Happiness Hub, you might not actually believe me. It included last minute fire-fighting to ensure we had the right approvals, permissions and partners, spending hours in a variety of official departments and taking care of all of the logistics for the debut of our flagship event, The Happiness Festival.
Against all odds, after almost six months of hard work, late nights and working weekends, we were ready for the big day. The region’s only event of its kind; something that delivered a truly unique concept, an innovative format and, best of all, had the potential to actually make a difference.
Our team, friends and loved ones arrived at the venue at 6am sharp, showing a degree of commitment that was humbling, and we spent the next five hours setting up tents and banners, conducting sound tests and briefing our team of over 40 volunteers.
So far, so good, right?
Then the weather hit. First a little rain. Then some wind. Then a bit more rain. And a lot more wind. By 10:30, the wind had progressed into a full-blown sand storm.
As our facilitators and first guests arrived, every part of me was praying for a quick weather shift, hoping that the sun would come out as it so often does in Dubai.
You can likely picture where things went from there. First, we had to take the majority of our tents down, then the flags dotted around the field. No matter how much we wanted to continue, by 11:30 it was evident that things weren’t going to go in our favour and, despite over 270 people showing up despite some of the worst weather I’ve seen in Dubai, we had to make the call to postpone the event.
A different perspective
I expected to be met with anger, confusion and frustration. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Making the announcement that I’d been dreading all morning, instead of an outcry, what I got was a round of applause and words of appreciation.
I was blown away (pun intended!) by our newly formed community and, for the second time that day, I was humbled by the experience. Our team of facilitators and the attendees that came out in that weather helped take what might have been a nightmare scenario and reminded me of everything we were there to accomplish.
They helped me find the good in a bad situation – and reminded me that happiness is all about perception.
Standing there, in front of all those people, could very well have been the lowest point of my week, month or year. But that moment of support helped me see things differently. Instead of a sandstorm and failed event, I instead saw the facilitators that were uttering words of encouragement. The volunteers rallying around to make sure everyone knew the event had been postponed. I saw friends picking up everything we’d just built and packing it all up again. I saw sponsors rallying their teams around and finding the fun in the moment. And, best of all, I saw all of our registrants supporting the idea that had brought us together.
The sadness, frustration and disappointment I felt was still there, but it was measured by the kindness, support and positivity that I witnessed last week Friday from a group of people that had nothing more in common than a desire to live, and see others live, a better life.
This past week has been a practical lesson for me. That low point in our efforts to organise this event has actually revitalised my commitment to it – because I’m more convinced than ever that this initiative is important for all of us.
Positive psychology isn’t about covering or masking your emotions. It’s about dealing with the challenges and disappointments we all face in the most constructive way possible. It’s about shifting perspective as a coping mechanism.
So, this week, I invite you to try the same thing I did. Flip your perspective. When you next want to complain or see the bad; flip it. Find the positive instead and list as many as you can. Notice what that does to your perception of the situation.
It probably won’t come naturally, but practice makes perfect. Think of positive perception as a muscle – the more your train, the stronger it will become. And we could all use more positivity in our lives.
About Fiona Barron
Fiona is a happiness advocate who is on a mission to spread positivity through simple evidenced based practices, weekly blogs and community events. Through a combination of research, scientific journals and anecdotal experience, she invites you to join her as she pieces together the jigsaw of how to become your best self.