The Power of Optimism Machine

//  01.11.18


Life is Good creates some high-tech happiness with the Power of Optimism Machine

The EEG-powered machine harnesses the power of positive thoughts to fill a glass of water.

Lifestyle apparel company Life is Good has brought the power of positivity to life in an incredibly engaging way.

Whether a glass is half full or half empty depends largely on a person’s perspective: are they looking at it through a positive or negative lens? Life is Good’s new Power of Optimism Machine uses electroencephalography (EEG) technology to literally demonstrate the power of positive thinking right before people’s eyes.

By either thinking of things that make them happy, or viewing a screen showing the brand’s uplifting artwork and phrases, users can literally fill a glass with water using only the power of positive thoughts.

Joanne Fletcher, senior brand director of Life is Good Canada, says the goal is to inspire people to focus on the good all around them and live with an eye toward positivity.

“Optimism is a powerful tool, with both emotional and physical benefits,” says Fletcher. “It creates positive energy that can change your mood, your mindset, and even your health. We love being able to physically demonstrate the power of optimism as a strategy for living a more fulfilling life.”

The power of positivity is palpable. Researchers have found that having an optimistic outlook is associated with better psychological and physical health. Optimists typically possess better coping strategies than pessimists, and are more likely to engage in lifestyles that protect against disease and illness. And a 75-year Harvard study found that people in happy relationships tend to live longer.

The Power of Optimism Machine is the creation of Toronto-based creative agency, The Garden and was developed by Toronto-based creative digital production studio ThinkingBox. The machine uses Emotiv’s open library of commands to create a signal that is sent to a tap that integrates with an arduino microcontroller and computer through bluetooth. This signal then passes through the computer and Arduino to the tap’s on/off switch.

While many people who tried the machine were convinced they would be unable to make it work, everyone was ultimately able to fill the glass with water. There were differences between what constituted positive thoughts for children and adults, however: For adults, positive thoughts tended to be complex or highly specific, such as walking on a beach and feeling sand between their toes, while children tended to focus on simpler things, such as cupcakes or basketball.

“Most people know that positive thinking can affect your mental health, but we wanted to demonstrate that optimism can have physical benefits as well,” says Shari Walczak, Partner and Founder at The Garden. “We came across this idea of using positive brainwaves to create a real-life reaction, and realized we could literally demonstrate the power of optimism.”

Life is Good has been dedicated to spreading the power of optimism and helping kids in need since its early days of selling t-shirts on the streets of Boston. The first ever “Life is Good” design served as a simple reminder to focus on the good, and the brand quickly forged meaningful, emotional connections with its community. Committed to building a world where Life is Good for all kids, the brand has since donated over $11.5 million to children’s charities.

“We need the power of optimism more than ever right now,” says Fletcher. “What makes each person happy is completely unique. But the tenets of optimism are accessible to all and can be practiced by anyone. Optimism isn’t about blind positivity or irrational cheerfulness – it’s about embracing the belief that life is not perfect, life is not easy, but life is good.”

The Power of Optimism machine is currently in Life is Good’s Canadian showroom in Toronto for customers to experience when they come in. The brand intends to bring the machine to retailer events throughout Canada this year so they too can experience the power of optimism for themselves.

Credits are posted below.


Campaign Title: “Power of Optimism”
Client: Life Is Good
Senior Brand Director: Joanne Fletcher

Creative Agency: The Garden
Creative Director: Shane Ogilvie
Strategy Director: Shari Walczak
Strategist: Sarah Phillips
Art Director: Rosalinda Graziano
Copywriters: Erin Beaupre
Project Cultivator: Mike Kovacs
Design Director: Omar Morson
Producer: Mike Kovacs

Technology Partner: Thinkingbox
Production: Andy Wadsworth, Christine Clark, Al Gayle

Director of Photography: Darrin Klimek
Editor: Brett Erina

Audio House: Grayson Matthews

About Life is Good
Bert and John Jacobs launched their business with $78 in their pockets, selling t-shirts in the streets of Boston. Today, Life is Good is a $100 million positive lifestyle brand sold by over 2,000 retailers across the US and Canada with the mission to spread the power of optimism. Early on, Bert and John were inspired by stories of people, mainly children, facing great adversity. These stories illustrated that optimism is most powerful in the darkest of times and inspired the creation of a fully integrated business model dedicated to helping kids in need. Life is Good donates at least 10% of its annual net profits to the Life is Good Kids Foundation to positively impact over 1 million kids every year facing poverty, violence, and illness each year. Please visit for more details and follow Life is Good on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

About The Garden
The Garden is a creative company, headquartered in Toronto, that believes brands need to start focusing less on the impressions they buy and more on the impressions they make. Through the development of a strong strategic foundation and a holistic approach to creative problem solving and design, The Garden helps companies uncover the ‘why’ in what they do, with the goal of making every connection point an opportunity to build stronger, more lasting relationships with their customers.

Branding, Technology