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The Positivity Pivot Point

Image by Damien Weighill

Apparently, negative things get our attention – as humans – far more easily than positive things. This can hold us back in life and work, but I picked up a great tip from this in a book called ‘To Sell Is Human’ by Daniel H. Pink. It’s called The Positivity Ratio.

In a study, social scientists Barbara Fredrickson and Marcial Losada discovered that people with an equal (1 to 1) balance of positive and negative emotions had no higher wellbeing than those whose emotions were predominantly negative. Even more surprising, people whose ratio was 2 to 1 positive-to-negative were also no happier than those whose negative emotions exceeded their positive ones.


Animation by Damien Weighill

But once the balance between emotions hit a certain number, everything tipped. That number was 2.9013, which the scientists rounded up to 3. In other words, people experiencing three positive things, for every one negative thing, were happier and more productive in their lives.

What a great thing to aim for. A specific ratio, of 3 positives to every negative. We can try to trigger these instances ourselves by noticing more of the good, keeping a look out for where we can summon a feeling of gratitude, interest or contentment, and registering that, to get our score up! I don’t always remember to do it, but it’s something I try to remind myself :)

Give it a go using the MMC’s Positivity Ratio Tool 👇


Positivity Ratio Tool created by Adam Ellison

Positivity Ratio Tool

Here’s a simple tool you can use to check-in at the end of the day (or at the end of your working day) and apply the positivity ratio.

Take a peek now or set up reminder.

Set up a reminder

  1. Create a calendar event with an alert for the end your day (or working day).
  2. Add the below link 👇 as a shortcut to the tool
  3. Make this a habit by setting this event to repeat every day.

About Alex

Alex is the founder & creative director at Lovers, a design collective/agency that pairs brands with creative talents to build inspiring campaigns.

Instagram: @oh_lovers

Alex Ostrowski

Alex Ostrowski

Founder & creative director at Lovers.

This article was updated on March 9, 2023