Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy = successful (not the other way around)

I sent this to a bunch of people over the weekend - including my entire work team - but I can't stop thinking about it so here it is in blog form.

In this video, Shawn Achor talks about how happiness inspires productivity. The whole 12 minute talk is interesting and funny, but the real meat of his message starts around 4:15. If you only have a few minutes, start at 7:30 or 9:15.

Some great quotes from the talk:

"It's not necessarily reality that shapes us, but the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality. If we can change the lens, not only can we change your happiness, we can change every single educational and business outcome at the same time."

"75% of job successes are predicted by your optimism levels, your social support, and your ability to see stress as a challenge rather than a threat."

"We need to reverse the formula for happiness and success... which is if I work harder, I'll be more successful. If I'm more successful, then I'll be happier. The problem is, it's scientifically broken and backwards.... If happiness is on the opposite side of success, your brain never gets there."

"By training your brain, we've found we can reverse the formula for happiness and success and by doing so, not only create ripples of positivity but create a real revolution."

So, how to "train the brain?" By doing one or more of these five exercises over 21 days:

1) Write down 3 new things you're grateful for every morning; your brain starts to retain a pattern of scanning the world not for the negative but for the positive.

2) Journaling about one positive experience in the last 24 hours allows your brain to relive it.

3) Exercise teaches your brain that your behavior matters.

4) Meditation allows your brain to get over the cultural ADHD that we've been creating by trying to do multiple tasks at once, allowing your brain to focus on the task at hand.

5) Random acts of kindness or conscious acts of kindness; when you open your inbox, write one positive email praising or thanking someone in your social support network.

I'm going to do numbers 1 and 2 for the next three weeks. Let me know if you try any of these and what the noticeable results are!

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