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Yes, oui can.

The land of morosité and ennui is embracing life coaches.

Under President Macron, France is flirting with optimism.

The Economist, May 27, 2017.

THE French like to think of themselves as a miserable lot. Voltaire taught them that optimism is for the naive. Jean-Paul Sartre made ennui chic. Best-selling French psychology books include such titles as “Too Intelligent to be Happy”. Polls consistently rank the French among the world’s most despondent. Fully 85% earlier this year said that their country was heading in the wrong direction, compared with 61% of Britons and 51% of Americans. The Anglo-Saxon world hosts a blossoming trade of life coaches, self-help writers, motivational speakers and happiness researchers—what might be called the “optimism industry”. In France, it has had trouble gaining a foothold.

Now, it seems, upbeat thinking is à la mode. During his election campaign, Emmanuel Macron, the new president, was the candidate of “la positive attitude”, said Damon Mayaffre, a linguistics researcher. Favourite words he used in his campaign speeches included hope, future, dream and youth. Even the name Mr Macron gave his political movement, En Marche! (“On the Move!”), conjures up motion and can-do enthusiasm; its jaunty exclamation mark jars with the traditional Gallic pout.

“What is very new is a different state of mind at national level, and this can be felt at an individual level too,” says Philippe Moret, a coach and founder of Attitudes Positives, a consultancy. The idea is that a more optimistic approach at the top could help coax France more broadly out of its morosité. Even before Mr Macron’s election, some sensed the changing mood. “What is positive psychology?” asked Cosmopolitan, a women’s magazine, last month. It went on to tell readers of the “science of happiness” and its “revolutionary” potential.

Optimism in France could be good for growth. Business confidence in May already showed signs of recovery. The composite IHS Markit index indicated the strongest monthly growth in France for six years. Rising confidence might also help those who have toiled for years in the optimism industry, against the odds. One such initiative is Sparknews, which promotes positive reporting. Another is the Positive Economy Forum, a yearly meeting designed to promote a “positive society”. It is the brainchild of Jacques Attali, a one-time mentor to Mr Macron who also advised François Mitterrand, a former president. The forum happens to take place in Le Havre, a town in Normandy whose outgoing mayor, Edouard Philippe, is Mr Macron’s new prime minister. Perhaps the French will take the power of positive thinking seriously, now that positive thinking is in power.
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Yes, oui can.
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The land of morosité and ennui is embracing life coaches.
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Under President Macron, France is flirting with optimism.
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The Economist, May 27, 2017.
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THE French like to think of themselves as a miserable lot.
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Voltaire taught them that optimism is for the naive.
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Jean-Paul Sartre made ennui chic.
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Polls consistently rank the French among the world’s most despondent.
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In France, it has had trouble gaining a foothold.
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Now, it seems, upbeat thinking is à la mode.
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Even the name Mr Macron gave his political movement, En Marche!
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Even before Mr Macron’s election, some sensed the changing mood.
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Optimism in France could be good for growth.
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Business confidence in May already showed signs of recovery.
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One such initiative is Sparknews, which promotes positive reporting.
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Yes, oui can.

The land of morosité and ennui is embracing life coaches.

Under President Macron, France is flirting with optimism.

The Economist, May 27, 2017.

THE French like to think of themselves as a miserable lot. Voltaire taught them that optimism is for the naive. Jean-Paul Sartre made ennui chic. Best-selling French psychology books include such titles as “Too Intelligent to be Happy”. Polls consistently rank the French among the world’s most despondent. Fully 85% earlier this year said that their country was heading in the wrong direction, compared with 61% of Britons and 51% of Americans. The Anglo-Saxon world hosts a blossoming trade of life coaches, self-help writers, motivational speakers and happiness researchers—what might be called the “optimism industry”. In France, it has had trouble gaining a foothold.

Now, it seems, upbeat thinking is à la mode. During his election campaign, Emmanuel Macron, the new president, was the candidate of “la positive attitude”, said Damon Mayaffre, a linguistics researcher. Favourite words he used in his campaign speeches included hope, future, dream and youth. Even the name Mr Macron gave his political movement, En Marche! (“On the Move!”), conjures up motion and can-do enthusiasm; its jaunty exclamation mark jars with the traditional Gallic pout.

“What is very new is a different state of mind at national level, and this can be felt at an individual level too,” says Philippe Moret, a coach and founder of Attitudes Positives, a consultancy. The idea is that a more optimistic approach at the top could help coax France more broadly out of its morosité. Even before Mr Macron’s election, some sensed the changing mood. “What is positive psychology?” asked Cosmopolitan, a women’s magazine, last month. It went on to tell readers of the “science of happiness” and its “revolutionary” potential.

Optimism in France could be good for growth. Business confidence in May already showed signs of recovery. The composite IHS Markit index indicated the strongest monthly growth in France for six years. Rising confidence might also help those who have toiled for years in the optimism industry, against the odds. One such initiative is Sparknews, which promotes positive reporting. Another is the Positive Economy Forum, a yearly meeting designed to promote a “positive society”. It is the brainchild of Jacques Attali, a one-time mentor to Mr Macron who also advised François Mitterrand, a former president. The forum happens to take place in Le Havre, a town in Normandy whose outgoing mayor, Edouard Philippe, is Mr Macron’s new prime minister. Perhaps the French will take the power of positive thinking seriously, now that positive thinking is in power.