rethink happiness

This is a pretty long video, but it is totally worth it. Shawn Achor talks about how we are more successful if we are happier and not the other way around. If we strive for traditional markers of success and wait until we reach them to be happy, then we likely won’t get there. If we try to do things that have been proven to make people happier then use that positive energy to work toward success, we have a better chance of being successful and enjoying the ride. I buy it.

“Embedded within that question is the key to understanding the science of happiness. Because what that question assumes is that our external world is predictive of our happiness levels, when in reality, if I know everything about your external world, I can only predict 10 percent of your long-term happiness. 90 percent of your long-term happiness is predicted not by the external world, but by the way your brain processes the world. And if we change it, if we change our formula for happiness and success, what we can do is change the way that we can then affect reality. What we found is that only 25 percent of job successes are predicted by I.Q. 75 percent of job successes are predicted by your optimism levels, your social support and your ability to see stress as a challenge instead of as a threat.”

What I really like about this is that he lists tangible things you can do, starting today to affect your happiness and your life:

  1. Gratitude: write down 3 new things you are grateful for for 21 days in a row. Helps you scan the world for the positive.
  2. Journaling: about a positive experience you’ve had over the past 24 hours, allowing your brain to relive it.
  3. Exercise: teaches your brain that behavior matters.
  4. Meditation: allows your brain to get over the cultural ADHD that we’ve been creating helping you to focus on the one task at hand.
  5. Random Acts of Kindness: write one positive email praising or thanking someone.
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