The Importance of Positive Thinking for Executives

Positivity is more than “feel good” jargon.

There is actual research backing up the beneficial effects of positive thinking on business. A 2001 study found that people experiencing joy think more creatively. A 2004 study found that teams with a more positive attitude earned higher profits and had happier customers.  And a study from 2005 found that people with a positive outlook miss less work. Here are some reasons positive thinking is important for executives and makes them more effective than their counterparts.

Fear Makes You Perceive Fewer Options Than You Actually Have

Humans sense danger and have coping mechanisms when danger is perceived, whether it is a storm in front of us as we are driving, a person walking too close behind us, or your child not wearing a helmet when biking on a busy road.  When situations like these happen, your brain shuts off everything else and focuses on saving yourself and loved ones. That’s great for real danger, but many people have this reaction to situations that aren’t nearly as serious. I can support you as an executive coach to develop your positive presence.

Have you ever felt a slight panic in the morning when reaching the office and you see before you a jam-packed schedule? It can trigger a fight-or-flight response and can cause you to tune out to where you don’t see the options you actually have. The converse is true as well. When you experience positive emotions, you see more possibilities.

Other Ways Negative Thinking Adversely Affects You

In addition to giving you a limited view of your options, negative thinking affects you adversely in several other ways:

  • It reduces third alternative thinking and squashes your creativity and dampens the creativity of those you interact with.
  • It drives up stress levels and over the long term can cause health problems.
  • Persistent negativity can reduce productivity and cause you to miss opportunities.
  • Negative thoughts takes longer than positive thoughts to “wear off.”
  • Chronic negativity attracts like minded individuals and drives positive people away.
  • Negativity damages relationships.

How do you perceive the situations around you?

Do you “have to” go to the gym or do you have time to do so?  You don’t “have to” attend every conference, but you have the privilege of doing so because you cherish professional development. You don’t “have to” stop by the supermarket on the way home. You probably won’t starve. You get to do so to have a warm home cooked dinner, unlike others who do not have this opportunity.

Ways to Increase Positive Thinking in Everyday Life

Increasing positive thinking involves practicing things that generate feelings of contentment, joy, and love. These things obviously differ for different people, but you have to make time for them rather than thinking of them as “extras.” Meditation and writing are two popular methods people use to increase positive thinking.

Check out Positive Psychology Practice Tip #3 to support your efforts in adopting a positive approach.

Savouring is also important, but when was the last time you scheduled something to savour? “Savouring” may be structured, like carving out time in the morning to enjoy your tea. Or it may be completely unstructured, where you figure it out as you go along. But giving yourself “permission” to savour some of your favourite things, it helps you experience joy, and entertain new ideas.

Research suggests positivity and culture are important to measurable long term growth.  If you would like to learn more about positive psychology practices, reach out today.

Here’s to partnering in possibility!

Jennifer Jimbere
Jennifer Jimbere
Jennifer Jimbere is an entrepreneur, International best-selling co-author of the Dream Boldly I Dare You series, World Class Coach and Business Consultant. A recognized authority on change management, profitability, and organizational turnaround, she has served as an advisor to thousands of individuals and organizations around the world for more than 20 years. Her work can be found on Jimbere Coaching & Consulting and Radical Joy Seeking Women's Club. Jennifer has also been named Influence Magazine 100 Authority and recognized as Coach of the Month, April 2019 by Strategic Learning Alliance.


  1. Interesting article with shareable suggestions.
    Above all I am convinced that culture is a panacea in various situations of life because it allows us to face every constancy with rationality, use of experience and knowledge, objectivity, ultimately in a positive manner.
    Above all it also allows us to understand that sadness, fear, anxiety, discouragement and others are all emotions which, of course, bring about an unpleasant state of mind, but they are also useful in making us recognize a source of danger, in making us process a loss, to point out to us that the choices we are making are perhaps not as right as we thought or that within us there is a source of emotional suffering that we must listen to and care for.

    • Thank you for your engagement. I love your points about emotions and the connection to an unpleasant state of mind that passes. I wish more people were understanding this with the staggering rates of suicide. This too shall pass does not seem to be a message that is engrained and understood. One of my mentors works with leaders in large organizations in the USA to cope with the staggering disconnect between a fair/poor review and the lack of productivity that ensues afterward. Seems the minimal expectation is Exceeds Expectation for their ratings. Do you have any additional thoughts on this?

      Jennifer Jimbere
      Your Partner in Possibility

      • Thanks Jennifer for the reply to my comment.
        Even if I follow with interest what is happening in the USA, I am not aware of what you mention in the last part of your note, and not knowing the situation I do not have a more precise idea.
        Maybe, if you can, enlighten me on the state of things.
        Thanks and see you soon.

        • To expand, I am hearing that workers under 35 are disappointed, some enraged if their work review is meets expectations or below. They expect that they are exceeding expectations. It is causing a disconnect in their engagement and work performance and at worse, suicides.
          Glad you have not heard of this and hope that with increased resilience and awareness it subsides.

          Jennifer Jimbere

          • If the consequences are those you mention, this is a problem of insecurity and low self-esteem. The transition from a completely different world, like the family one, to that of work has never been easy.







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