TED : Ideas worth spreading

Review: The happy secret to better work

Speaker: Shawn Achor
Date: May 2011
Location: Bloomington, Indiana

Description from TED website:
We believe we should work hard in order to be happy, but could we be thinking about things backwards? In this fast-moving and very funny talk, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that, actually, happiness inspires us to be more productive.

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My Review / Notes / Thoughts

First, I just have to say … this guy is hilarious. And since they say laughter is the best medicine, I highly recommend this video just based on that alone!

“Normal is merely average.”

If you’ve ever taken a statistics course, the weight of that statement can really hit home for you. Why should I be normal? I don’t want to be average!

Shawn gets into the meat of his presentation at around 9-minute mark of the video. He talks about how the “absence of disease is not health” – and when you think about it, that is very accurate. Just because I am physically well, doesn’t mean that I am healthy. It doesn’t account for mental or emotional status.

He goes on to say that we need to reverse the formula that we, as a society, have for happiness and success. The formula he is referring to is:

“If I work harder, I’ll be more successful. And if I’m more successful, then I’ll be happier.”

Then he tells us what’s wrong with that formula … and that’s the fact that once we get to that goal-post of success … it gets moved!

That is when I think about how I’ve been this past year. My goal post for success for so long was to “complete my doctorate.” That was a little over a year ago, and since then I have felt like I was wandering aimlessly … after all, where do you replant your goal-post after that? So obviously, happiness upon completing that degree was not found.

His solution? Start by becoming positive in the present.

Bonus: Once we start being positive, our brains work even better … and our work improves – dramatically!

So how do you become more positive? It’s not like you can just flip a switch, it is something you have to work at.

His suggestion only takes 2-minutes of time, and within 21 days you can become more optimistic. That trick is to write down three new things you are grateful for each day (for 21 days).

He also mentioned that meditation can be helpful, and focusing on one task at a time – no more multitasking! Also, performing random acts of kindness is extremely helpful.

Saturday. Summer. Beautiful sunny day, so my friends and I decided to make a picnic and watch the sundown. Pretty fun and relaxed day.
Photographer: Helena Lopes | Source: Unsplash

Thank you for taking the time to read and if you haven’t already, please go watch the video – you won’t regret it!

Also … I hope that this message is one you will spread – share the happiness!