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ICYMI: I’m in Seattle.
And the whole time zone difference thing is throwing. me. off. How do West Coasters wake up knowing they’re already three hours behind a good chunk of the country? I don’t think I’ve ever jolted out of bed at 7 am so fast, and I don’t like that.
But what I DO like is sharing some inspirational goodness with you on Mondays on these rosy parts. We’ve gotta band together and get encouraged, empowered, and excited for the week amidst otherwise lackluster end-of-weekend blues, amiright?
And BOY OH BOY, do I have some inspirational goodness for you this morning.
If you’re on the CUR newsbreak email crew, you got the sneak peek last night into today’s Monday Mantra…
“Be weird. Break the averages.”
Without context, maybe this makes no sense at all. So lemme fill you in:
Yesterday, I saw a talk by Harvard grad, New York Times Bestseller, happiness researcher, positive psychologist, and general badass Shawn Achor. (Have you seen his TED Talk yet???) Because I’m always 100% honest with you guys and gals, I’ve gotta say…he was probably the *best* live talk I’ve ever heard, ever. Let that sink in for a hot sec wouldja??
This guy is dynamite. A funny, charming, wickedly smart speaker, I bought his book in a flash and was so eager to share some insights with y’all – they’re too good!
Shawn’s research is on positive psychology and happiness. I’ve always encouraged you to create your own happiness in life, because I really do think you can do it. Turns out, so does Shawn. Happiness can be *created*, and his research proves that, as well as how manufacturing your own happiness can inevitably impact those around you, and better your own chances of succeeding in life.
First things first: Shawn defined happiness. Which I think is great, because most people assume happiness is this silly cartoon smiley face, where you just push through problems and stresses blindly in the search for feelings of momentary bliss. Wrong.
“Happiness is the joy you feel when moving towards your potential.”
Isn’t that cool? Have you ever felt that in your own life? Really, when you think about it, there is no happiness like that which you feel when you’re doing something that you know is elevating you higher than before, helping you surpass your own self-imposed limitations and beat the odds of success in your own world. And this joy we feel in these moments fuels us into wanting to learn more about the world and invest in other people, kickstarting a cycle of awesome that genuinely boosts our moods and livelihoods. I want to share with you the key bullet points of Shawn’s talk, because there is just so. much. goodness and I want to make sure it all is given straight to you!
- Ignorance leads to the exact opposite of bliss. Optimism is great, but it doesn’t stop reality from hitting us. So, combine the two and you’ve got rational optimism: what occurs when you’ve got a realistic assessment of the present (instead of just donning rose-colored glasses 24/7) while still holding the belief that our behavior matters and problems can be fixed.
- “Averages” are made up by data and don’t actually exist. There is no such thing, actually, as “the average person,” “average child,” “average millennial.” I swear I knew this from the moment I decided I really couldn’t stand statistics lectures, but turns out…statistics are to blame for some data that’s totally skewed and invalid. This blew my mind, so brace yo’self: the word “average” literally came to be from statisticians and researchers attempting to make data patterns that could explain behavior. So, remember when you first learned about the words “mean” and “median” and how you’re supposed to remove outliers in data because they’re just kinda the weirdos that are messing up the bell curve? In doing so, society has gotten into the habit of removing the prodigies, the weirdos, the overachievers (and underachievers) from study and has gotten used to working towards some “average” number. Really, my theory here is it’s to fluff the egos of statisticians who need their own theories to look good. HA! A clearcut average is the way it is because we’ve removed the extraordinary outliers from the equation entirely. If we study what is average, we will remain merely average. Instead of deleting “the weirdos” in studies and in life, we should study them to move the “average” up and better society.
- Your happiness is based on how you process your surroundings. Not what your surroundings actually are. This is where the whole “attitude is everything” mantra might come into play, because it’s literally scientifically proven to be true. Boom.
- There are three great predictors of success:
- 1. Optimism, and this belief that your behavior really does matter.
- 2. Strong social connection.
- 3. Perceiving stress as a challenge (and not a threat).
- Stress is inevitable, but its effects don’t need to be. When there is meaning connected to a situation, that’s when stress becomes really stressful and threatening instead of driving and motivating. Being able to think of a stressful situation as a challenge to overcome (instead of as a threat that could hurt you) can have ALL the difference in whether or not you end up being successful in beating stresses and anxieties.
- Your brain can’t tell the difference between visualization and actual experiences. Um, excuse me? Yeah, that’s right. This means that there is so much power in sitting down, closing your eyes, and visualizing yourself being a rockstar in your own realm. When you truly see yourself succeeding, you’re driving to subconscious to actually get there and manifest it in real life.
If I lived by Pike Place Market, there would be no more 5 or 10 dollar bouquets because I would buy every single one and cover my house and hand them out to kind strangers. This place is increíble. & today I heard firsthand from positive psychologist Shawn Achor about how to literally CREATE real joy and simultaneously spread it around. Not getting down from the happiness high anytime soon, so be sure to hop over to le blog tomorrow (that’s ??cominguprosestheblog.com?? for any newbies to these rosy parts) for the fully fabulous and happy scoop! ♡ ♡ ♡
Are you feeling smart and inspired yet? I swear I left this talk feeling like a new woman. How cool is it to know that we can control our emotions and emotional responses to various situations? Shawn ended his schpeal with 5 tips for creating sustainable positive change in your life and beyond – because what good is it if you can’t keep it going, right? Two of my favorites:
- 3 gratitudes. Start each day thinking of 3 specific gratitudes from the past 24 hours. “Specific” meaning that instead of saying “I’m grateful for my family,” you might say, “I’m grateful for my mom calling me to tell me she’s proud of me and loves me – it really made my day.”
- Conscious acts of kindness. Make the first task of your everyday this: Take 2 minutes to send one positive email or text praising or thanking someone you know. Simple as that.
Have you seen Shawn’s TED Talk before? Do you believe that happiness can be created?
I’m excited to hear your thoughts on this, because it seriously revolutionized my own mindset. May your Monday be brighter because of it!