Positive Psychology and Entrepreneurship

One of the prerequisites for entrepreneurship or entrepreneurial spirit is positivity. Positivity is often driven by positive emotions which trigger entrepreneurs to envision a world where things are better for all and the level of inequalities and injustices in the world are significantly reduced. This drive that entrepreneurs have gets them to a place where they reflect on what enables individuals and communities to flourish and thrive.

Positive psychology encapsulates these emotions and describes the science behind the “real essence of life” and what it means to live an impactful and fulfilling life. One of the fundamentals of positive psychology is the understanding that human beings are driven by the quest to lead meaningful lives both for themselves and communities in which they exist. It also emphasizes on the fact that people are usually driven by the future more than the past hence fostering a sense of optimism.

The topic of “positive psychology” was at the core of this year’s VIP Curriculum at the European Business School (EBS) MBA Class at the Impact Institute. The VIP course is meant to teach students who are future experts, entrepreneurs, managers and executives how to apply their creativity, positivity, empathy and critical thinking in understanding stakeholder needs and leverage the science of positive psychology into business in finding social justice and bringing social change. 

Reflections from VIP Encounters in attendance revealed that, their realization of what leading “a good life” meant, began when they began to search deep within themselves on what positive human functioning entailed and how this contributed to the physical, emotional, mental, psychological, relational and spiritual dimensions of life.

One of the critical things that kept these entrepreneurs going even in hard times was the pledges they had made for themselves to fulfill a purpose that was bigger than themselves. Visiting entrepreneurs like Sabriye Tenberken of “Braille without Boarders” stressed that, success for entrepreneurial ventures often calls for continuous inspiration and motivation of teams, while listening to people’s stories in context to provide solutions to their problems - ultimately creating a win-win situation for all.

The affirmation that positivity broadens minds, enhances creativity, triggers problem solving and fuels resilience was clear and how it allows for entrepreneurs to convert “mere ideas” into opportunities that address specific social challenges in given target markets. Establishing and maintaining relationships with people was noted to be extremely essential in fulfilling the hopes and dreams that people have since people are always at the centre of any business venture.

As part of the Making More Health team of Boehringer Ingelheim, I was honored to be part of this VIP Encounter where the concepts of positive psychology, positive framing, centered leadership, meaning, purpose, happiness, engagement, relationships and accomplishment were explored and how these concepts motivate entrepreneurs enabling them to always bounce back and continue delivering social change with their enterprises.