Watch the video: Positivity and the OK Line

Positivity is the primary core feature of the ‘happiness lens’ (or ‘wellbeing lens’). This means looking above the minimal standards of the ‘OK line’. Positivity shifts our attention in two directions – one from bad situations to better ones, and the other from instrumental goods to ultimate values.

The ‘OK line’ metaphor is introduced as a way of structuring debates about pathological/remedial approaches versus appreciative learning and aspirational planning.

Pathological and remedial approaches focus on learning about and mitigating or removing harms (e.g. poverty, illness, crime, violence).

Appreciative learning emphasises the benefits of learning about, and savouring, the good aspects of people’s capabilities, lives, and achievements.

Aspirational planning aims to achieve positive results that take us well beyond the mere removal of harms, enabling people to live wonderful not merely adequate lives.

We invite you to comment on this film with your thoughts about whether the organisations and activities that you are engaged in are achieving a balance between attending to pathologies below the ok line and to wellbeing above the line.