15 October 2019
How is your day going?
You now have two options: you can respond with all of the things that have gone wrong in your day, or you can highlight the successes. For example, you could say:
“Ok thanks, the weather’s rubbish so that traffic was really bad on the way in, and then I spilt coffee on my trousers and looked a fool in front of that new team, but I am sure the day will get better!”
Do you think the day will get better for that person?
Or you could say:
“Great, thanks! I listened to a great podcast on the way into work, there was a bit of traffic so I could really get stuck into it for a change. Then when I got in, I spilt coffee all over the place, and met one of the new team while cleaning it up. They’re lovely. How about you?”
Same events, different perspective.
I watched a fascinating TED Talk this week that highlighted the massive impact that your choice of perspective has on your overall potential for success and happiness in life.
Whilst we more often than not believe that success brings happiness, actually it could be the other way around. Psychologist Shawn Achor argues in his TED that happiness inspires productivity, and therefore directly impacts our chances of success. In fact, so he says, a positive attitude increases productivity by 31%!
Using medical school as an example, Shawn describes how it is a known phenomenon that upon being bombarded with information about so many symptoms and diseases, medical students begin to question whether they themselves are presenting those symptoms.
It all comes down to how we let the external world impact our internal world. In fact, stats show that our external world only predicts 10% of our happiness overall. And that 90% of that happiness is linked to you internal world, i.e. how we think and perceive things.
Positivity and mindset
When you focus on the negative – on the ‘what ifs’ and the risks – you view life through that lens of negativity and encourage the emotions and moods associated with that. On the contrary, when you view the world through a positive lens, focussing on the good, you’re happiness increases.
Shawn recommends a series of simple actions to kickstart the rewiring of your brain to help you to see life more positively, and thus lead a happier life. He advises:
- Journaling about one thing that you’re grateful for each day.
- Meditation – countering the ‘always on’ world in which we live, forcing your brain to focus on one thing.
- Exercise – training your brain to see that your behaviour matters.
- One random act of kindness a day.
These small positive changes, he says, build to rewire your brain and shift your perspective in the long-term.
So, the next time that someone asks you how you are today, how will you answer? Let me know your thoughts below.