Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

"Harnessing the power of positive emotions"/ Hire disabled staff

May 4, 2015  "Harnessing the power of positive emotions": I cut out this article by Eileen Chadnick in the Globe and Mail on Oct. 25, 2013.  It's a business article, but I would also file it under health.

Jon and Solange are both on the short list for a promotion at work. Jon has more experience and technical know-how. Solange is newer to the job but is known for her exceptionally positive attitude and a track record of resilience, even in stressful conditions. Who has the greater edge?

Before minimizing Solange’s positive attitude as a soft skill, think again. Positivity matters, and in recent years a great deal of science has affirmed that positivity can bolster one’s capacity for critical thinking, resilience, personal growth and, ultimately, greater well-being and success.

Positivity is a very brain- and body-friendly emotion, conducive to bringing our best to our work. How so?

According to Barbara Fredrickson, a professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, positivity does more than just replace bad thoughts with good ones.

The pre-eminent scholar on the science of positive emotions says the right dose of positivity can actually change how we think and, over time, even increase our success in life.

In her books, Positivity and Love 2.0, Prof. Fredrickson attributes this to her “broaden and build” theory, based on more than 20 years of research:


Positivity can broaden your mind and open your heart, thus making you more creative and open to new perspectives, she found. A positive attitude can also boost critical thinking skills and ultimately help you to see more possibilities, too. Conversely, negative emotions (such as fear and worry) can limit your thinking and narrow your mindset.


People who practise positivity are more apt to build new skills and social connections, acquire new knowledge and reach for bigger goals. Over time, this can create an upward spiral of effectiveness and success.

Paradoxically, whereas negative emotions tend to stick and endure, positive emotions don’t reside in a permanent state. They can be fleeting. To reap the rewards of positivity, one needs to create a steady supply of positive emotions over time.

Prof. Fredrickson is currently teaching a class on the science of positivity through the training organization

MentorCoach. (Disclosure: I am a participant.) In a recent lecture, she said positive emotions are more than “icing on the cake” but rather essential nutrients needed for success and well-being.

How much is enough? The more the better, but it turns out the the ideal ratio is at least three positive emotions per negative one. This ratio distinguishes those who thrive from those who merely get by, or worse, languish.

There are many ways to experience more positivity in your life – even when circumstances are challenging.

Here are a few ideas that might be helpful:

Commit: Much as people must commit to eating better or exercising more, they must commit to bringing more positivity into their daily lives. Often this calls for reframing situations or trying new perspectives.

Diversify: Prof. Fredrickson cites 10 positive emotions that have been proven to bolster well-being: joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe and love.

Savour: Slow down and enjoy the positive moments – and then savour them again by capturing them in a journal. Identify at least three good things that happened in any given day and talk about them with others. See the rewards compound as you replay them.

Connect: Prof. Fredrickson says the most powerful of all the emotions is “positivity resonance,” when two or more people share a positive emotion. A passing smile, a shared joke, a moment of celebration – the possibilities are endless and can happen with anyone, not just people you know well.

Tap inside: We can have an infinite supply of positivity if we empower ourselves to tap into our internal well. Those who rely only on good things happening externally will find themselves struggling in times of challenge. Positivity can be just a thought away.

Rinse and repeat: It takes repetition to build new habits and to rewire our brains to have a more positive outlook. The good news is that our brains have a tremendous ability to build new neural pathways. You can indeed teach an old dog new tricks if you try.

"Why you aren't happy at work": I cut out this article by Leah Eichler in the Globe and Mail on Oct. 26, 2013.

Twenty years ago, I saw a play that changed my life. (Yes, good theatre can have that effect.) It was called Escape from Happiness by Canadian playwright George F. Walker and it not only launched my life-long love of theatre but, true to its title, it opened my 18-year-old eyes to the part of the human condition that craves misery.

How do we manage to get into so many situations that make us unhappy? It never ceases to amaze me how my career-driven friends and acquaintances continue to make choices they know will render them miserable. Admittedly, I’m not immune to this.

It took me years to tell a former colleague that his incessant e-mails were slowly driving me mad. Now, I pay attention to my own happiness quotient and weed out aspects of my work that negatively affect it.

Yet, so many of us continue to wallow in roles and occupations that render us miserable. Don’t believe me? Then check out a recent Gallup poll, which showed that a lucky 13 per cent of employees worldwide feel engaged at work. The rest just shuffle through their days or completely disengage and spread their malaise to others.

Here’s my theory – we don’t expect to find happiness at work, so we don’t. Many of us spend our working hours knowingly undertaking a Dilbertesque exercise in futility and frustration. We may think we’re soldiering on bravely, but frankly, this unhappiness is bad for business and the economy. It’s time to stop escaping from happiness.

According to this year’s United Nations World Happiness Report, happy people live longer, are more productive, earn more and are better citizens. The report suggests that countries should place as much emphasis on citizens’ mental health as on economic growth. (Canada ranks sixth on the world happiness scale. The United States came in at 17th, just after Mexico.)

Perhaps it’s time to rethink our approach to our work-life happiness quotient. Forget balance. I’m convinced that if we enjoyed what we did more, the time between punching in and out would feel less like suffering. But before embracing happiness as an important contributor to productivity and profits, we need to define it.

That’s easier said than done, according to Rachel Schipper, chief executive officer and founder of Toronto-based Curated Wellness, a firm that provides wellness workshops for companies as well as individual coaching. Ms. Schipper, who spent five years as a lawyer on Wall Street, argues that happiness is not a matter of ticking off a series of boxes – and says a prestigious job, nice house and good marriage may not do the trick.

“I meet an awful lot of professionals who have all of these things and aren’t happy, and moreover don’t know what would make them happy because they haven’t done the unfamiliar task of checking in to find out,” she said.

Happiness, according to Ms. Schipper, is like a muscle that we’ve forgotten how to use in our business culture – but there are ways to pump it up. Ms. Schipper cited a team of volunteers she formerly managed. These volunteers needed to apply for the unpaid job, and be available from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. for both days of four weekends – and they kept coming back for more. She believes three key components contributed to their enthusiasm: they regularly received praise, food and drinks, and the opportunity to see the impact of their work in real-time.

“I rarely see all three of these components in a work environment,” Ms. Schipper said.

Another way companies can inject happiness into the workplace is by demonstrating they care.

“If people feel happy, cared for and respected at work, they will want to work hard and excel,” said Vanessa Judelman, president of Toronto-based Mosaic People Development, which offers leadership, management and executive training.

“I have often heard my clients say things like, ‘Why should I take the initiative and put my heart and soul into my work if my company doesn’t care about me?’ But if a person feels happy and cared for by their organization, they are more likely to go the extra mile, work long hours and exceed expectations,” she said.

Jessa Chupik, manager of recruitment, retention and employment equity at Ryerson University, said there is one obvious way to boost happiness levels at work: simply ask employees what would make them happier.

“We tend to make broad generalizations about Gen Y, X … about what makes them happy in the workplace,” Ms. Chupik said. “Instead, we should be asking employees for their opinions or input into how to improve the culture and happiness of an organization.”

Who knew it could be so simple. Almost as easy as sitting down to watch a life-changing play.

Hire disabled staff: In the Globe and Mail on Oct. 26, 2013, there was a short article "Small firms urged to hire disabled staff."  Here it is:

Canadian small businesses could be doing more to hire workers with disabilities, a new survey suggests.

The Bank of Montreal poll found that nearly 70 per cent of small-business owners say they have never hired a person with a visible, or non-visible, disability.

Only 30 per per cent of respondents to the survey, conducted by Pollara, said they had hired someone with a disability, essentially unchanged since a similar survey last year.

"The irony is that business owners readily recognize the advantages of a diverse workforce ... 79 per cent see diversity as an asset, yet they seem not to understand that people with disabilities can add to this diversity and make a significant contribution to their efforts to improve business results," Sonya Kunkel, BMO's managing director of diversity, said in a release.

The survey of more than 300 small-business owners found that nearly half of those who plan to invest in their firms in 2014 intend to hire more staff. "We need to impress upon business owners that people with disabilities do have abilities that will help them succeed and grow," Ms. Kunkel said.

Feb. 15, 2016 "Bad job blues": I cut out this article by Joanne Richard in 24 News on Nov. 26, 2012.  It talks about how having a bad job can really affect your mental health.  More than half of Canadians said having good colleagues is more important than earning a good salary.

Here are depression prone jobs:

-nursing home/ child- care workers
-food service staff
-social workers
-health care workers
-artists, entertainers, writers
-administrative support staff
-maintenance and grounds workers
-financial advisers and accountants
-sales people

My week:

Nov. 23, 2017  "For love and country": Today I found this article by Emily Yahhr in the Edmonton Journal.  I'm not a fan of either of them, but I thought it was a nice article.

During a concert in Washington, D.C., this fall, Tim McGraw performed Humble and Kind, the Grammy-winning ballad that urges people to “hold the door, say please, say thank you; don’t steal, don’t cheat and don’t lie.”

“Hope they’re listening down the street,” he cracked at the end of the song.

The past year, country music singers have stayed mostly quiet about their political beliefs, for fear of alienating any audience members. Yet McGraw and his wife, Faith Hill, are different. As the power couple released their first duet album on Friday, titled The Rest of Our Life, they are paving their own path yet remaining a dominant force.

McGraw has seen a career resurgence in recent years; and while Hill hasn’t released a solo album in more than a decade, they embarked on the Soul2Soul world tour together this year, performing their combined hits. This spring, they released a duet called Speak to a Girl, which urged respectful treatment of women months before Keith Urban’s Female.
McGraw and Hill also spoke out following the deadly white supremacist rally in

Charlottesville, Va. After U.S. President Donald Trump doubled down on his remarks about how there were some “very fine people” in the group that included neo-Nazis, McGraw posted a Facebook photo of Abraham Lincoln with the quote, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

Hill tweeted, “WE MUST STOP THIS HATE. It is our responsibility to leave this world a better place period. Stand for what is right. Equality for all.”

Their outspokenness culminated last week in a Billboard cover story. After most country stars stayed silent about gun rights following the Las Vegas massacre at a country music festival last month — when a gunman shot and killed 58 people and injured hundreds more — McGraw and Hill were straightforward.

“Look, I’m a bird hunter,” McGraw told the magazine. “However, there is some common sense that’s necessary when it comes to gun control. They want to make it about the Second Amendment every time it’s brought up. It’s not about the Second Amendment.”

“In reference to the tragedy in Las Vegas, we knew a lot of people there. The doctors that (treated) the wounded, they saw wounds like you’d see in war,” Hill said. “That’s not right. Military weapons should not be in the hands of civilians.

“It’s everyone’s responsibility, including the government and the National Rifle Association, to tell the truth. We all want a safe country.”

Nov. 28, 2017:

Mon. Nov. 20, 2017: Last week my 2013 black computer stopped working.

Wed Nov. 22, 2017: My 2004 gray computer stopped working.  This was may day off.  I watched my TV show recordings and read the newspaper.

Thurs. Nov. 23, 2017: I went to work.  I watched TV and read the newspaper.

Fri. Nov. 24, 2017: I did the same thing.

Sat. Nov. 25, 2017: I went and asked my little brother if I can use his laptop for like 10 min.

I didn't have the internet for 3 days.

1. No email/ blog posts.
2. No job search.

I guess I could have gone to the library at the Enterprise Square on my day off.  I would then have to check my email to see if anyone emailed for a job.  After work, I could go to the library and wait for the next free computer that comes.  That could be like an 1hr wait while I'm reading the newspaper.

I had like a 5 day break from my job search.

Nov. 28, 2017 The highlight of the week: No internet for 3 days.  I had a good break from my job search.  I was busy with work. 


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