An interesting TED talk by Shawn Anchor on how positive thinking can drive better performance. One of the more salient points for me was that as a society (and something I can identify in my own character) we have put happiness on the opposite side of success. For example, if we get good grades, we then have to get better grades to be happy, if we have a good job, we have to find a better job to be happy. In the end it is not a winning formula.
A better way is to raise our happiness in the present, as Anchor identifies “the happiness advantage”. This advantage gives us an edge in terms of IQ, energy, resiliency, and accuracy.
In order to become more positive in the present Shawn outlines the following actions done over a minimum of a 21-day period:
- writing down 3 new things that you are grateful for
- journalling about 1 positive thing we have experienced in the past 24 hours
- meditations to get over what he terms our cultural ADHD of doing multiple tasks at the same time
- random acts of kindness (e.g., one positive email thanking someone)
There is definitely something to this philosophy. The world seems to be continually speeding up. All too often the focus seems to be on the small, mundane goals, while the important things get left undone. Can focusing on happiness in the present be the key? I don’t know, but it can’t hurt. What is the worst that will happen? A little more happiness in your life, seems like a winner to me.