Happiness and the Olympics

It seems that in an analysis of the expressions on Olympic medal winners faces on the podium the happiest people won gold, then bronze then silver. It seems that the people who won bronze were thinking “I nearly didn’t get a medal at all”, whereas the silver winners were thinking “if only I had tried that bit harder I would have got gold”.  I then got to thinking about how I think in these terms and it goes something like this:


  1. I always think about the worst that could happen.  I think through the worst scenario but while I am doing so I look for something good that could come out of it.
  2. I don’t dwell on this worst scenario though, I am quite a positive person so I quickly accept it as a possibility, and then assure myself that its fairly unlikely and move on.
  3. If it’s a repeat of some event that happened in the past I try and remember something good about that event as well.  
  4. Any outcome from that point onwards is then better than the worst scenario that I have already accepted as a possibility, but then set aside and not worried about
  5. If the worst does happen, the “something good” immediately pops into my mind and get me on the road to lifting depression.


This little process is very rapid and automatic, and I never really designed it its just a pattern that I ended up adopting.


To give you a little example:


  1. I might loose my job
  2. I think of all the things I would have to give up
  3. I think of all of the extra time I would have to do things I enjoy, how I would have more time with my family etc
  4. I think of when I was poor living in £12/week flat with almost know heating, broken windows and a bed made from an old door.  I met my wife that year, used to bake bread most days, and spent a lot of time down the gym!
  5. Ok so now I have accepted that I might loose my job, I stop worrying about it and get on with doing my job.  If my thoughts for whatever reason return to the “loose my job” theme, it’s the positive spin that comes to mind quickly and lets me move back to a positive frame of mind.

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

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