The Positive Emotion of Success

black labrador retriever sitting on rock

Over the last 50 years, The Pacific Institute has been fortunate to have had strong relationships in the field of cognitive psychology. It has informed everything we teach. So, we are delighted when new research confirms that we are on the right path with our applications.

In the February 24th (2013) issue of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Joris Lammers, David Dubois, Derek D. Rucker and Adam D. Galinsky’s article, “Power Gets the Job Done: Priming Power Improves Interview Outcomes,” describes one experiment where two separate groups of individuals were asked to write a job-application letter. Before writing the letter, one group was asked to recall an occasion when they felt especially powerful, the other was asked to recall an occasion when they felt they lacked power.

In a second, similar experiment, three groups were primed – one as powerful, one as neutral and the third as powerless – before an admissions interview for business school. Results from both experiments reflected that merely “asking participants to remember a personal experience with power dramatically affected the impressions that interviewers had of them.”

The Pacific Institute has often taught this practice as “flick back / flick up.” When faced with a situation that would cause you to doubt yourself or cause you tension and anxiety, you flick back to a similar experience where you succeeded. Take that positive emotion of success, and drop it into the current situation – flick up. You are borrowing a positive emotion from the past, and painting the new situation with your own success.

If you are not certain that you have positive past experiences, take a few minutes and compile a list of the 10 things that have gone well in your life. If you have 5 or 20, write them down! Then, take each one and remember the circumstance, the challenge, and the way you succeeded and achieved. Live in that emotion of success once again. Then, the next time you face a challenge, flick back to one of these successes, and put the positive emotion of success into the new challenge.

Take the time to make that list and fully remember the successes of your past. They are powerful tools in creating the future that you want.