If I work harder, then I’ll be successful because that’s the key to success. And if I’m successful, then I’ll be happy, right?
In the recent Tedx Bloomington talk, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that this approach about the key to success leads to an opposite outcome: a fixation on competition, workload, hassles, stresses, and complaints. In the midst of an economic downturn, the stresses can compound themselves into a burnout abyss, unless we can change the lens through which we view the world and raise positivity in the present.
Small changes create ripples outward – and a little extra dopamine in the brain, which in turn creates improved energy, intelligence, productivity, and even sales outcomes. In fact, Achor says, in a study that reversed the work-for-happiness formula with employees, every single business outcome improved.
Here are some recommended methods to train your brain to work more optimistically and successfully:
- 3 Gratitudes – For 21 days, write down or take snap shots of three new things for which you are grateful and see how the habit actually attracts more of those positive connections. Check out http://365grateful.com/ for some creative inspiration.
- Journaling – Every day, write in your journal or create a flickr photo journal about one positive thing that happened to you, allowing your brain to relive the moments in writing or imagery. For more journaling ideas, go to http://www.writingthroughlife.com/.
- Exercise – Daily exercise teaches your brain that your behavior matters, releases endorphins. Yoga is one of the most portable and uplifting forms of exercise out there. Yoga Journal has a great library of videos and home practice guides from beginner to advanced levels.
- Meditation – Finding time in each day to unplug and get over our attention deficit in a multi-tasking world allows better focus on the task at hand. Got a moment? Perfect timing. Try this one-moment meditation video for a quick intro.
- Random Acts of Kindness – Every day, write one positive email or post praising someone in your work, personal, or online social network… or here’s a list of 29 more ways to carry out random acts of kindness everyday.
What do you do to reverse the formula of happiness and the key to success? The path you choose can create a revolution in the way we approach life, work, and what we receive in return.