“Happiness might get written off as “fluff” but research shows that it can greatly increase revenue.” – @MichelleGielan


Michelle Gielan, national CBS News anchor turned positive psychology researcher, is the Founder of the Institute for Applied Positive Research.

She is partnered with Arianna Huffington to study how transformative stories fuel success and is an Executive Producer of “The Happiness Advantage” Special on PBS and a featured professor in Oprah’s Happiness course.

Michelle is also the best-selling author of Broadcasting Happiness.

In today’s episode, we dive into her journey from “coder kid” to TV anchor to positive-psychology researcher and change-maker. We explore the deeper psychology behind media, rational optimism, how the stories we hear, see and tell affect us and how we relate to each other both at work and in life.

I’ve been listening to the Good Life Project for a while, it’s one of the few podcasts I consistently listen to in addition to Recode Decode hosted by Kara Swisher and Recode Media hosted by Peter Kafka.

At one point Michelle mentions how research is showing that business and media companies are following an antiquated formula; that where they think negative news and sensationalization gets shared more because it draws eyeballs in the short term, long term it doesn’t. People are more likely to click on an ad and purchase a product when it’s next to positive content over negative content by as much as a 30%. (Original study: What Makes Online Content Viral? Jonah Berger, Katherine L. Milkman (2012) Journal of Marketing Research: April 2012, Vol. 49, No. 2, pp. 192-205. Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.) Which is what you want. Advertisers want response dollars or follow through, not just ad clicks or branding dollars.

Going back to Recode the podcast made me think of Kara and Facebook. I don’t go on Facebook because as Kara points out there’s too much broken glass. But then I thought Huh. What if for one day. . . just one day Facebook adjusted the news feeds to show more positive and factual content. Not a big change because you don’t want your users to know what your doing but just enough to extract some data from it.

My last thought was wishing I had writing skills to share what I was really thinking on my last post about perspective.

It’s about time and acceptance and trusting yourself but mostly about acceptance. What defines a good life? 

I listen to a lot of podcasts, follow a lot of smart people on social media and read a lot of blogs, articles and books. But few are the sources who talk about acceptance, quality of life, mental health, isolation (touch deprivation), forgiveness and reaching out to others including yourself. The last time I heard some in the tech community intentionally talk and write about any one of those items, with the exception to one person and podcast, it was after the passing of Aaron Swartz. The reason I think so highly of Gwyneth Paltrow and why goop is going to continue to be a success is that she’s immensely human and is interested in human success. Not just the bottom line affect.

“I always played it close to the chest and never let anyone in and now I’m paying the price. Maybe, just maybe, I out-smarted myself.” What defines a good life

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