The truth is that twenty-two days ago, I was miserable, bouncing from happy to sad to happy to sad to bleh to meh to who-knows-what, and I was getting really sick of it. And don’t even mention depression because I’m already dealing with that, and this was not part of it. It’s something separate that began once my books started getting out there – once the idea of success started infiltrating my brain like this crazy monster. So twenty-two days ago, I watched a Shawn Achor TED talk on YouTube, and I decided to take the challenge given in the video. Shawn Anchor says the lens through which we view the world shapes our reality, and if we change our formula for happiness and success, we can change our reality and therefore better control our lives and work productivity, meaning for me, WRITING MORE and BETTER.
That is the “happiness formula” in the world these days, in general, and it goes against how your brain actually works. We’re all drilled to believe that success is based on outside factors, when in actuality, reversing that “happiness formula” is the more natural way to be happy. The only way to be happy, in my opinion. So what does reversing that formula mean? It means changing your behavior, the way you think…
The point is that happiness comes first. That behavior, that way of thinking, that whole idea of being happy in the present, comes first. So Shawn Anchor gives these five ways to change the way you think, like rewiring your brain to be happy in the present, therefore changing the way you behave.
For 21 days, every day, you should:
- 3 Gratitudes – Identify gratitude for three new things.
- Journaling – Write about one positive experience.
- Exercise – Teach brain that behavior matters
- Meditation – Learn to focus on a single task.
- Conscious Acts of Kindness – Write one positive email of praise or thanks to someone in social network.
I thought I might try all of these, but ended up only doing one completely for 21 days, and another for about half that time. I mastered the three gratitudes.
So you might be asking, did it work?
Why, yes it did. I am writing more without making myself do it. I just want to, so I do, and I’m more efficient. I am happier. I feel better about my writing. I did not do all of the points listed above, but just the one for gratitude has done wonders for the way I wake up and start thinking. Literally. I wake up happier. It’s becoming a habit to think about things I’m grateful for, and let me tell you, three a day got hard. Sometimes I’d just sit there and think. Sometimes I wouldn’t write the post until the end of the day after I’d thought about it for hours. What am I truly grateful for? Who am I grateful for? Who do I want to say thank you to today? After awhile, my nature kept me from sending someone an email every single day to say thank you. It started to feel fake, so I stopped.
And trust me, I’m not living under some delusion that I should be bouncing around ridiculously happy 24-7. Because I won’t. I’m a pessimist, which is the problem, but it’s still a part of me. So I can be grateful and irritated at the same time. But the whole idea of this is that I am generally happier and that my productivity (which has increased) is stemming from a happy life instead of my productivity determining my happiness.