Episode #988 Michelle Gielan: The Science of Igniting and Sustaining Positive Change

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Moe and Michelle Gielan talk about how our words can move people from fearbased mindsets, where they see obstacles as insurmountable, to positive mindsets, where they see that change is possible and take action.


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Michelle Gielan

Founder of the Institute for Applied Positive Research View Full Profile

Broadcasting Happiness

If happiness is a choice, why then are so many people unhappy?  For years now, we’ve been inundated with statistics and studies telling us that most of us are miserable at work, uneasy at home, and distrusting of our leaders, yet few put forth the effort to dig deep enough to reveal why or how one gets out of this rut.  

Growing up in business in the late 80s and 90s, topics such as happiness and wellbeing didn’t earn enough mindshare in boardrooms and leadership dialogue.  The focus during those days, was much more on bold leadership and bottom line results, often at the expense of human sacrifice.  That tide started to shift, however, in the early 2000s as an abundance of academic and scientific research started to show a positive correlation between happiness and improved business performance.  Then in 2010, when Shawn Achor released, The Happiness Advantage, leaders everywhere could no longer ignore the notion that happiness is indeed a discipline — one that will either be nurtured or wasted.  

As I prepared to speak with Achor’s wife and business partner, Michelle Gielan, I recalled a clever poem by Robert Louis Stephenson that always reminds me that it’s our ego that is often the biggest culprit of our unhappiness.  “I have a little shadow who goes in and out with me; and what can be the use of him is more than I can see.  He is very, very, like me from the heels up to the head; and I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.”   

Gielan was educated as an engineer, but as you’ll discover in her book, Broadcasting Happiness:  The Science of Igniting and Sustaining Positive Change, it was her brief time in television when she started to actualize how much bad news impacts those who consume it.  

Here are a few of the questions we discuss: