The Diamond Initiative reached out to one of the authors of the Art of Being Brilliant, in response to our book review of their work.
AND THEY RESPONDED!
Amazingly Andy Cope answered some questions we put forward to him, and his responses were really insightful.
Okay ‘as business owners, most of us start ups at TDI, we experience low days, when the money’s not coming in and we don’t really know what we’re doing… and as positive as we try to be, everybody has low days. What would be the number 1 thing you’d suggest to a business owner to snap out of a low and negative mood?’
I’ve been studying positive psychology for 12 years. That means I’ve been seeking out happy people and interviewing them to find out their secrets!
The starting point is to understand that your emotions aren’t real. Yes, they feel real but they’re not ‘things’, as in they don’t have a shape and mass. Emotions are a mental construct and, as such, can only ever come from one place – your thinking. Hence the secret to changing your feelings is to retrain yourself into better habits of thinking. Of course, that’s easier said than done. A quick win for me is to distinguish between my ‘to-do’ list and my ‘to-be’ list. It’s very easy to get sucked into being stupidly busy and rushing through live in panic mode. The question is ‘who am I being while I’m doing those things on my to-do list?’ That reminds me to step up to being my best self.
It’s important to acknowledge that it’s perfectly okay to have a bad day. Everyone has them. The trick is to make sure you don’t have a bad life.
When did you realise you had found a way to combat your own negativity? When was your eureka moment?
My moment came when I discovered the brand new science of positive psychology. I’d spent my entire adult life studying traditional strands of psychology so was well versed in phobias, disorders, anxiety and depression. Bizarrely, psychologists had never studied happy people (because they tend not to be ill). I flipped psychology on its head and started to seek out happy people. Who are they? Why are they so happy? And what can we learn from them that we can put into practice in our own lives?
It’s been a game-changer
How would you approach a situation where you find some really important people in your life are mood hoovers, but aren’t open to change?
I agree that it can be frustrating. Without side-stepping the question too much, I’d suggest positive psychology is about changing yourself. There are some quick wins that you can make – a kind of personal upgrade – that puts you in a much better position to deal with negative people. I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t change anybody else. All I can do is influence them.
How do you approach anxiety or self doubt when you are thinking about a new business venture?
I’ve learned that anxiety and self-doubt are normal. Guess what, everybody has that negative self-sabotaging voice in their head. Most people let it stop them. I’ve learned to challenge it. Most of the time your negative self talk is a gibbering idiot. It’s there for your safety (ie, it doesn’t want you to do anything out of your routine) and, as a consequence, it can restrict your potential. When the self-doubt jabbers on about all the bad stuff that will happen, I always challenge it with ‘what’s then best that could happen?’ It helps you face up to challenges and take a few more calculated risks
What do you turn to for inspiration?
I’m a self-help junkie, so you’ll find me with my head in a book. I’ve even been known to write a few!
We would also like to thank Andy Cope for taking the time to write a response to The Diamond Initiative.