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You don't have to be a misery guts to succeed - just ask the toll-road hero

It's August and holiday time, but most successful business people seem to be permanently miserable, whether on holiday or at work.

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This is probably because they’ve spent all their lives looking to improve and probe for areas of weakness, whether it’s the hand-tufted towels on the sunbed or the production line.

In our business, this has led to a world of promiscuity, corporate infidelity and procurement. Wouldn’t life be better if we started a new way, to only accentuate the positives and build rather than nitpick, create and not cost-cut? My daughter thinks this way – she thinks my two chins are much better than one.

So we’re launching a league for people against misery and auditing. This week, they include: Simon Dumenco aiming to ban meaningless buzzwords – game-changing, curation, disruption and ecosystem top the list. IFTTT.com, for making the Internet of Things a reality and not a meaningless buzzword.

President Obama, for telling chief executives to stop complaining about personal tax and focus on social issues as the mini-governments that they are (to that end, we’ll work pro bono with any CEO in pursuit of their social cause and with anyone else who wants to join).

Smart people know companies that promote cultures of generosity and 'give first, take second' prosper most

Also on the list must go everyone who turned off their lights on 4 August. Mike Watts and the Kelston toll road, for a both populist and subversive pop-up product launch. Not Impossible, for trying to fashion technology for the benefit of humanity. They have found a way for brands to be part of stories that are changing lives – "real" branded content.

Tao Huabi. Born in Guizhou province, she never attended school and was widowed at 20. She became a rickshaw driver, saving enough to open a restaurant selling homemade noodles. Her blend of oils and sauces was so successful that she created Laoganma chilli oils, now the leading brand with CNY3.1 billion of sales.

She is repeatedly wooed for IPOs and, at 67, she still won’t sell and continues to run the company her way.

If even a grumpy git like me can be happy, surely there is hope for everyone. Cynics might think that nice guys finish last, but smart people know that companies that promote cultures of generosity and "give first, take second" prosper most. Adam Grant has shown that, from agencies to the CIA, generosity is more effective.

As Tim Lawler reminded me, smiling is not a sign of weakness.

Nick Emery is the global chief executive at Mindshare

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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