By Michael Dash, author of Chasing the High

It was late 2016 when I learned about activation. I was attending a yearly entrepreneurial retreat in Utah.

As I rode to the retreat with Parveen Panwar, a good friend of mine, he looked over and said, “I’m going to activate everybody at this event.”

It’s a moment I’ll never forget. “You’re going to do what?” I asked, clueless as to what he was talking about. “What do you mean you’re going to activate everyone?”

“I’m just going to make sure everybody has really high, positive energy, regardless of what else is going on,” he replied. “I’m going to make sure they’re having a great time, they’re focused and they’re passionate about what we’re doing this weekend.”

I could tell he was excited about this idea, and although I still wasn’t 100% sure what he meant, I threw out a fun challenge in the spirit of competition.

“You know what? I’m going to activate more people than you!”

What started as a joke quickly turned into something very real. As we talked to more people at the retreat and got them pumped up about life, the energy level in the room steadily rose. That’s when we knew we were on to something. Activation was a big part of the reason that the entire weekend was amazing. 

After the event, a few of us decided to take the idea of activation further. Our first step was creating social media videos explaining what activation meant to us. Much like the reaction at the retreat, the videos got amazing engagement. Over a hundred entrepreneurs came forward asking how they could support our movement.

We later developed a set of core values outlined by the acronym PAPER. Here are the five traits you need if you’re looking to have high levels of positive energy.

1. Positivity

Positivity is simple but can make a tremendous impact. Smiling at a stranger may be a small thing, but it can brighten their mood at that moment, if not outright change their whole day. Before I realized the power of positivity, I'd walk down the streets of New York wondering what was wrong with people who looked at me and smiled. Now I’m the one who’s smiling -- and maybe even saying hello -- and it’s a much lighter feeling to carry around. A small change can make a big difference.

2. Authenticity

Being authentic is a big part of my life. I used to care so much what my coworker, mother-in-law or boss thought about me. Now I worry about being true to myself.

There will be people who like you and people who don’t. Since you can’t control what they think, don't worry about it. What's completely within your control is being true to who you are and what you represent -- focus on that.

3. Passion

Let’s be honest: There’s zero benefit to doing things at half effort. So when I say passion, I mean giving 100 percent every day at whatever you're doing. If you’re not going to hustle, don’t bother. Anything less is a disservice to yourself and others.

4. Empathy

Empathy means different things to different people, but one trait of empathetic people is they pay it forward. I’m a big believer that when you do this, it will always pay you back. One way I live this out is participating in philanthropy. Volunteering can have a tremendous positive impact.

5. Resilience

Want to know the key to endurance? Resilience. We all get knocked down in life, usually repeatedly. But it doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down or fail. What matters is how many times you get up, dust yourself off and resume the work of paving your path forward. No one but you can stop you from designing the future you want.

Get Activated Today

You can’t spell activation without “action.” You have to get up and act if you want positive energy in your life no matter what’s going on. In a world of negativity, it’s easy to get wrapped up in everything going wrong and remain inactive.

To start, you have to go beyond writing positive comments online. You’ve got to get out there and have an impact by getting your hands dirty to fix the problems you perceive. When you’re truly activated -- filled with high levels of positive energy -- you won’t be able to sit still because you’ll want to activate others. That’s what Parveen and I did at the 2016 event, and it started a movement. What can you do today to activate more people in your world?

Michael Dash is the best-selling author of Chasing the High and founder of FATE, a 10-week program to regain control of compulsive behaviors.