15 January 2014

Don't worry, be happy!

What was your New Year resolution?  Stop smoking?  Drink less?  Save more?  Spend more time with the family?

Many of us make the same resolutions every year, displaying what has been called "false hope syndrome", knowing that we are likely to fail and even though we make the same doomed resolution year after year.

A better resolution was suggested by Graham Hall of Ambitious Brands at a meeting of the Bath and Bristol Marketing Network last night.  Graham advocates the power of optimism, and how we should all strive to see the glass as half full, rather than half empty.

This message strikes a chord with organisations such as Action for Happiness and Bristol's own Happy City, who are looking to make us all happier through promoting positive social change. 

But Graham suggests that being an optimist is not just a personal life choice - it's a rational, smart business strategy. 

Confident, enthusiastic and daring optimists are magnetic people, who attract business opportunities. Optimists share many of the same characteristics as entrepreneurs: they take risks in order to follow their dreams; they have a passion for what they do and carry people along with them; they surround themselves with good people; and perhaps most importantly, they make mistakes and learn from them.

It is easy to be cynical.  Brands like Coca-Cola have always tried to use happiness as a concept to market their products: brands that make us feel happier or which we associate with happiness are brands we are more likely to buy.  And as a lawyer, it is often my job not to see the glass as half full, but to make my clients aware of the risks they face in any chosen business or litigation strategy. 

However, knowing what the risks are does not always mean they should not be taken.  So make that resolution.  See the glass as half full.  And see what the New Year brings.  Cheers!

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