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Happiness Principles To Live By – 4 of 7

I find this principle, the fourth out of the seven, a very strong one.

Strong because when we find ways to apply this, it can truly bring a lot of additional positivity to our lives. Strong as well because it really touches deep on (human) emotions and our ways of looking at the world. Accepting events as events, as “it is what it is” – an event and nothing more than an event -, that alone is a personal change. I know it was for me. Telling it to yourself over-and-over again until it sticks in the brain has helped me as well to use positive events (which you can’t change either) as stimulation to deal with those events that seem to crush on me -always at times where it seems to impact your whole life…


Capitalizing on the Downs to Build Upward Momentum

While many of us, thankfully, live lives free of serious trauma, we all experience adversity of one kind or another at some point in our lives. Mistakes. Obstacles. Failure. Disappointment. Suffering. We’ve all heard the usual examples: Michael Jordan cut from his high school basketball team, Walt Disney fired by a newspaper editor for not being creative enough, the Beatles turned away by a record executive who told them that “guitar groups are on their way out.”

Of course, turning adversity into opportunity is a skill that comes more naturally to some people than others. Luckily, these techniques can be learned. One way to help ourselves see the path from adversity to opportunity is to practice the ABCD model of interpretation: Adversity, Belief, Consequence, and Disputation. Adversity is the event we can’t change; it is what it is. Belief is our reaction to the event; why we thought it happened and what we think it means for the future. Is it a problem that is only temporary and local in nature or do we think it is permanent and pervasive? Are there ready solutions, or do we think it is unsolvable? If we believe the former— that is, if we see the adversity as short-term or as an opportunity for growth or appropriately confined to only part of our life— then we maximize the chance of a positive Consequence. But if the Belief has led us down a more pessimistic path, helplessness and inaction can bring negative Consequences. That’s when it’s time to put the D to work. Disputation involves first telling ourselves that our belief is just that— a belief, not fact— and then challenging (or disputing) it.

Happiness Principles To Live By – 3 of 7

Just coming out of a full week of workshop, to publish a short post on brain training… The third principle. Not sure my brain training has been anything alike what’s described in this principle and exercise – but I have found many positives and will pick up on those!


Training Your Brain to Capitalize on Possibility

Try this little experiment. Close your eyes and think of the color red. Really picture it in your mind’s eye. Now open your eyes and look around your room. Is red popping out at you everywhere? Assuming elves didn’t repaint your furniture while your eyes were closed, your heightened perception is due only to your change in focus.

Imagine a way of seeing that constantly picked up on the positives in every situation. That’s the goal of a (Positive) Tetris Effect: Instead of creating a cognitive pattern that looks for negatives and blocks success, it trains our brains to scan the world for the opportunities and ideas that allow our success rate to grow. When our brains constantly scan for and focus on the positive, we profit from three of the most important tools available to us: happiness, gratitude, and optimism. The more you pick up on the positive around you, the better you’ll feel.

Happiness Principles To Live By – 2 of 7

The second principle, the second week. Assuming you’ve given The Happiness Advantage principle a try. Time to take the next step in the quest for happiness.

We view our work as a Job, a Career, or a Calling. The interesting thing is that we can map these views to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. People with a “job” see work as a place to receive their paycheck from, fulfilling physiological needs. Next, people who view their work as a career, work not only out of necessity, but also to advance and succeed. These people, their careers, are meant to move from safety up to belonging and esteem. Finally, people with a calling view work as an end in itself; their work is fulfilling not because of external rewards but because they feel it contributes to the greater good, draws on heir personal strengths, and gives them meaning and purpose. This group of people’s work is at the self-actualization level. The good news is you can tweak your mindset of your job into a calling focus.


Changing Your Performance by Changing Your Mindset

Imagine two janitors at the local elementary school. One focuses only on the mess he must clean up each night, while the other believes that he is contributing to a cleaner and healthier environment for the students. They both undertake the same tasks every day, but their different mindsets dictate their work satisfaction, their sense of fulfillment, and ultimately how well they do their job.

Try this exercise. Tell your team to “Forget about your current job title. What would our customers call your job title if they described it by the impact you have on their lives?” When you make these larger connections, your boring tasks not only become more pleasant, but you perform them with far greater dedication, and see greater returns in performance as a result.

So if you are a leader, whether of 3 people or 300, remember that the power to affect results rests not just in who’s on your team, but how you leverage your team. Every Monday, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Do I believe that the intelligence and skills of my employees are not fixed, but can be improved with effort?;
  2. Do I believe that my employees want to make that effort, just as they want to find meaning and fulfillment in their jobs?; and
  3. How am I conveying these beliefs in my daily words and actions?