I recently watched an inspiring TED talk by Shawn Achor. He refutes conventional wisdom that teaches us that success, equates to happiness. In fact, he shows that recent discoveries have shown that this formula is completely backward. Instead, happiness is actually what fuels success. When we are positive our brains are more creative, resilient and productive at work. For example, according to the studies in Achor’s book, The Happiness Advantage, optimistic salespeople outsell negative sales people by 56%. Happy employees are proven to take significantly less sick days than their negative peers. Positive managers increase customer satisfaction by 42%.
A few points in his talk that really resonated with me:
“It’s not the reality that shapes us but the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality. If we change the lens not only can we our happiness. We can change every business and educational outcome at the same time.”
“90% 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, we can change the way we can then affect reality.”
“The traditional model “If I work harder, I’ll be more successful. If I’m more successful, then, I will be happier is broken for two reasons:
1) Every time your brain has a success you just change the goalpost of what success looks like. If happiness is on the opposite side of success, your brain never gets there.
2) Our brains work in the opposite order. Your brain at positive performs significantly better than at negative-neutral stress… If we can find a way to become positive in the present our brains work more successfully.”
“You can train your brain to be more positive. In 2 minutes span of time done for 21 days in a row you can actually rewire your brain. Write 3 new things of what you’re grateful for 21 days straight. At the end of that, your brain starts to retain a pattern of scanning the world for the positive and not the negative.”
His talk inspired me to try the exercise of practising gratitude to help rewire my brain. I’ve started “21 Days of Gratitude” – where every day, I write/draw three things that I’m thankful for. Not only is it rewarding for myself as I find myself more grateful and aware of everything I should be appreciative of, it also lets the people I am thankful for know what they mean to me.
Care to join me on this exercise? Leave a comment and share what your grateful for today!