The Two-Percenters: How to Embody Positivity with Andy Cope

If you were to write down what you feel at this very moment, you would probably be somewhere in the middle — not depressed but not exactly happy either. For most of us, we are in this middle ground. Knowing someone genuinely happy is entirely unheard of, especially at this time when the world is at its worst. But how can we embody positivity and keep the fire burning in our hearts amid all these?

In this episode, Andy Cope relays practical tips on how to have a more positive outlook. He talks about who the two-percenters are and what we can learn from them. Andy also shares his proudest moments and favourite books, which you may also find valuable.

If you want to discover different ways of thinking about personal development, this episode is for you.

Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:

  1. What is the difference between  happiness and positivity?
  2. Find out Andy’s top tips on how to improve the chances of having more good days. 
  3. Discover Andy’s secrets to success. 


Episode Highlights

[2:27] The New Normal

  • The ‘new normal’ has been around for a while due to the pandemic. 
  • The bad news is nobody knows what it is or how it is going to end. But not knowing gives us a chance to shape our own new normal on a personal level. 
  • Making it up as you go along is the only viable strategy at the moment.

[5:16] Leadership and Flourishing

  • Your job as a leader is to be inspired. When you are flourishing, it creates a ripple effect on the people around you. 
  • We know what we need to do to feel great, but we are not doing it. Often, we are busy doing the wrong things. 
  • Psychologists have studied various illnesses and abnormal behaviour but never happy people. 
  • Andy wanted to study happy people: who they are, what they do that makes them feel amazing, and what we can learn from them. 
  • Personal remembering is trying to remind people how to be their best self because most tend to forget.

[9:43] Who are the Two-Percenters?

  • For Andy’s PhD thesis, he gave out diaries in the workplace and asked people to record their feelings during the working week. He then plotted people on a graph of well being or happiness. 
  • The mood hoovers are those who are not sad nor depressed but stuck in being negative about everything.
  • The two-percenters are near the top of the graph of wellbeing; they are anomalies and reported being genuinely happy. 
  • That 2% manifests on the outside but crucially starts on the inside. It has to do with habits and learned behaviour. 
  • The two-percenters live in the exact external world as everyone else, but the difference lies in how they make sense of it.

[14:17] Andy’s Three Proudest Moments 

  • First is Andy’s PhD, which took him 12 years to finish, but was proud that he stuck at it. He even graduated at the same time and day as his daughter, who finished her master’s degree. 
  • He is proud of his two children and how they turned out.
  • Lastly, Andy feels proud whenever he sees his books displayed in bookshops. 

[18:44] Happiness versus Positivity

  • Happiness is an emotion. You can open up to it or let it in, but you can’t choose it
  • Meanwhile, positivity is an attitude and something you can work on. It’s not easy, but you can get better at it. 
  • Two-percenters are a handful of genuinely optimistic and upbeat people. 
  • They do the difficult task of making a conscious and deliberate choice to have a positive attitude. 
  • According to the nudge theory, there is already a brilliant version of you lurking inside. 

[20:49] How Two-Percenters Developed Their Positive Thinking

  • Most of them underwent many challenges, trauma, and adversity. These experiences served as a wakeup call that kicked them to become more positive. 
  • Social learning states that for children to be confident and optimistic, their parents must embody it first.

[23:43] Top Tips on How People Can Make the Choice of Positivity

  • The Japanese phrase ‘ichi-go ichi-e’ relays the uniqueness or rise of the moment. It teaches us to live in the moment a little bit more. 
  • Be your best self wherever you go. Self-care is being conscious now and having an eye on being kind to your future self. 
  • Andy suggests learning the importance of being your self’s best mate.
  • Listen to the full podcast to learn more about the content of Andy’s books and his three favourite books!

[34:31] Andy’s Secrets to Success

  • Be good at ordinary things, like being kind, passionate, resilient, and having a positive attitude. 
  • Andy’s butterfly metaphor says that the secret to happiness is to stop long enough to be in the moment. 
  • Listen to the full podcast to know the background of Andy’s butterfly metaphor!

5 Powerful Quotes from This Episode

[03:39] ‘We’re all going to have bad days, right? That’s fair enough. But you don’t have to have a bad life’.

[8:25] ‘I just think that when the world’s doing its worst, which it is at the moment, then it’s even more important that we know how to be at our best’.

[20:22] ‘I tell everybody, you already are a superhero, but you pretended to be normal. So stop pretending’.

[25:04] ‘When you become this two-percenter, you have to kind of inhabit that personality of being the best you, and it goes everywhere with you’.

[38:23] ‘Maybe happiness isn’t a pursuit. Maybe if we just stopped for long enough, happiness would have time to catch up with us’.

About Andy Cope

Andy Cope, also known as ‘Dr of Happiness’, is a best-selling author, happiness expert, qualified teacher, and recovering academic. He is a sought-after keynote speaker and a highly-respected figure on employee wellbeing and human flourishing. He has done various radio and TV appearances and has appeared in Esquire, The Telegraph, and Daily Mail.

If you wish to get in touch with Andy, you may reach time through Twitter or send him an email at  

Enjoy this Podcast?

With the world we’re living in today, it’s easy to get discouraged and spiral down into negativity. But with Andy’s practical tips, you, too, can choose positivity. If you enjoyed today’s episode of The Mindset Mentor Meets…, then hit subscribe and share it with your friends!

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For more updates and episodes, visit my website. You can also tune in on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or Podbean

My latest book “You’re Better Than You Think You Are is available right now on Amazon.


To meeting inspiration,