Did you know there’s a secret to happy, healthy, Bold relationships? The secret is based on the concept of there being 20,000 memorable moments in a day, a concept theorized by Nobel Prize-winning psychologist and economist Daniel Kahneman.
Of those 20,000 moments, how many are positive and how many are negative?
Of those 20,000 moments, how many do you make positive for yourself?
How many do you make positive for others, and their own 20,000 moments?
You can probably guess where this secret to happy, healthy, Bold relationships lies, but before I get to it, let’s talk about the benefits of positive moments.
In short, positive moments create positive emotions.
According to Barbara L. Fredrickson, Ph.D, and her “Broaden-and-Build Theory of Positive Emotions,” positive emotions foster creativity and social interaction, and open minds to new ideas and possibilities.
Clearly, positive emotions are a great thing to have, and if they stem from positive moments, then the secret to healthy and happy relationships–with family, friends, coworkers, or even just yourself–is to strive to create more of these positive moments.
How many positive moments do we need to create to outweigh the negative ones?
You might be surprised to find out that, if you were to put a positive moment on a scale and a negative moment on a scale, they don’t weigh the same!
Fredrickson, in her book “Positivity: Top-Notch Research Reveals the 3-to-1 Ratio That Will Change Your Life”, puts the value of negative versus positive at three to one.
However, Dr. John Gottman–a noted psychologist who specializes in marriage–was trying to figure out what makes husbands and wives tick in successful relationships, and he discovered the “Magic 5-to-1 Ratio”.
As per the Magic 5-to-1 Ratio, for every one negative interaction, there must be five positive interactions.
According to Dr. Gottman: “It sort of suggests that if you do something negative to hurt your partner’s feelings, you have to make up for it with five positive things. The equation is not balanced in terms of positive and negative. Negative has a lot more ability to inflict pain and damage than positive things have to heal and bring closer.”
Examples of positive interactions that can create positive moments might include:
- Showing interest
- Asking questions
- Being nice to one another
- Being kind
- Being affectionate
- Being empathetic
Meanwhile, examples of negative interactions that can create negative moments might include:
- General hurt feelings
While Gottman’s Magic 5-to-1 Ratio is focused on making marriages successful, it can also apply to other aspects of life.
When we look at it through the lens of the Seven Pillars of a Bold Life–and especially through the Pillar of Relationships–we can see that this ratio works for parenting–especially when it comes to helping kids grow into healthy, happy people.
After all, when it comes to raising kids with positive reinforcement versus negative reinforcement (i.e., rewarding good behavior with praise versus pointing out mistakes with negative feedback), which do you think fosters positive development?
According to author Kara Carrero, positive interactions–and especially positive language–works wonders for children, whether they’re toddlers or much older schoolkids.
As a parent and grandparent, I can tell you that if you want a household with more smiles and warm feelings, then kindness, interest, affection and empathy are the way to go, while criticism, hostility and anger will yield a lot of yelling and slammed doors. Go for the former, not the latter!
The Magic 5-to-1 Ratio can be applied to the Careers Pillar as well.
If you’re a boss, supervisor or manager, and your team feels valued and appreciated, that team will work harder and accomplish more. Keep the gears well-oiled with positive feedback and the engine of your business will run much smoother!
P.S. PROJECT BOLD LIFE: The Proven Formula to Take on Challenges and Achieve Happiness and Success is a complete system for planning your life to get what you want, and has been a top seller in three categories: “Motivational Growth & Spirituality”, “Personal Success & Spirituality” and “Management Skills”. I hope you check it out if you have not purchased a copy.