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We’ve been talking a bit about positivity and its great effects on body, mind, soul and life in general but so far it has all been theory. It was time to get practical : Can positivity positively impact lives? Can we infect others with positivity as easily as we spread our flu germs?

So this week we challenged ourselves to walk the talk. Our entire staff pledged to do positive deeds and think positive thoughts one whole week and see what happens.

After a week of buying drinks for our friends, striking conversations with strangers, giving up seats on public transport, giving way on the road, helping family and friends out (no reward expected), and smiling so much our cheeks became numb, this is what we found out:

Malaysians are not used to positivity.

Think about the last time you smiled at everyone you passed, struck up conversation with a stranger or even gave up your seat on the train for someone else. It’s a rare enough occurrence that it can make you seem like quite the odd character. Perhaps it is because of our culture or how we’re brought up but Malaysians are quite a reticent bunch. It may also be because we’re quite kiasu, or scared to lose face.

But positivity generates positivity!

Although some of our positive deeds were met by skepticism or suspicion, when others figured out that we were being sincere, they did warm up quite quickly.

When our creative director baked brownies for a new neighbour, the reception was a little chilly. However, her empty plate was filled with kuih upon return and she made herself a new friend.

Another awesome encounter was when a simple smile sparked a conversation that led to a chat over teh tarik. Our designer tells us he learned many things from a pleasant uncle he greeted while at Friday prayers, saying that this encounter proves the proverb “Orang berbudi, kita berbahasa, orang memberi, kita merasa”.

So it seems like positivity does generate positivity, and the universe does reward our efforts. All the more reason to cultivate positivity in our daily lives.

Being positive is NOT easy.

Doing good things and being nice and kind requires actual effort and conscious will (especially for those of us who aren’t naturally optimistic and sun-shiny). Some days when we were tired or late to work or just having a grumpy day, we really did have to consciously remind ourselves of our positivity experiment and therefore had to at least attempt to not complain or kick a chair over.

But it is so worth it.

The benefits are real. Simply by telling ourselves to think of the good side in everything made even the toughest days easier to get through. Doing something nice for someone else made us happy as well. We didn’t feel like we needed to be rewarded, or that we “lost” something, in fact doing good seems to be a reward in itself. It is also true that the physical act of smiling somehow tricked us into feeling happier (it’s scientifically proven, though). And when we got the hang of smiling, it really did come more naturally.

One last thing we learned is that positivity is like a muscle – the more you use it, the stronger it becomes and the more easily it comes. And its actually not difficult at all – just start with ONE thing every day.

What do you think – will you try a little positivity today?

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