Have you ever read a book you couldn’t put down. One that inspired you to try and read it aloud to anyone close by that would listen? Today we are talking about one of my new favorite books, this book is loaded with brilliant research on happiness. It is “The Happiness Advantage” written by Shawn Achor from Harvard.
In this book, Shawn notes:
There have been over 200 studies done with 275,000 people that conclude happiness leads to success and nearly every domain of our lives – including marriage, friendship, health, community involvement, creativity, career and business.
Happy workers have higher level of productivity, produce higher sales results, perform better in leadership positions, receive higher performance ratings, receive higher pay and enjoy more job stability. They are also less likely to take sick days, quit, or become burned out
Happy CEOs are more likely to lead teams of employees who are happy, healthy and find their work climate conducive to high performance.
In terms of happiness, many people will say “some people are born with it, some people are not”. However, after all the research done by this gentleman and all the others, they’ve concluded that you can actually rewire your brain for happiness – they call it “The Happiness Advantage.”
So how do you rewire yourself to become more happiness. It’s easier than you may think. In fact, if you just follow these steps below consistently (for attest 21 days) and you’ll start feeling the positive effects in your life almost immediately.
GRATITUDE – Write down three new things that happened during your day that you are grateful for.
JOURNAL – Write for 10 minutes a day describing one positive experience you had over the past 24 hours.
EXERCISE- Aim to be active for at least 30 minutes a day, four days per week.
MEDITATE- For 5 minutes each day, focus on your breath going in and out.
RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS- Write one, quick email first thing in the morning thanking or praising a member on your team.
Another thing to take into consideration is introducing positivity in your surroundings. We have a lesson in our Rapid Results Formula 2.0 online program titled “Cleaning Up your Environment.” In that lesson, you go around and give a rating to every single element of the environment around you that is either helping you to be more productive or less productive. If it is something that is slowing you down, we give you tips on how to revise it, get rid of it, or how to update it. Why wait – you can start doing this one right now!
Check out our worksheet below to start rewiring your brain for happiness.
Would it be fair to say that we have all been through many many different types of experiences in life? They range from great, interesting, bad, horrible, tough, challenging, fun…etc and just about everything in between!
What’s interesting is that as we go through life we experience all of the moments in different ways. Some of them are strong enough that they become a significant emotional event (SEE) that leaves triggers or marks on our nervous system. This mark on our nervous systems reminds us that when an event starts to look similar to the SEE we are supposed to respond and “assume” what is about to happen next.
Example: Let’s say you’re in a relationship and you’ve fallen in love, everything’s amazing, beautiful, and incredible. All of a sudden you find yourself listening to a very specific song on the radio thinking about your lover and how amazing they are. Midway through the song they call you and dump you. WTH AHHHHHHH!!!
I hate to bring up bad memories, but I’m sure it has happened to some of you (certainly happen to me a couple times). Here’s the crazy part: let’s say you are in a brand new relationship with a totally different human being. One day you are going about your business, everything is awesome and that song comes on the radio. As you’re listening to the song all of the sudden those old memories hit you. To make it worse, at that exact moment, the phone rings and it’s your boyfriend/ girlfriend of the moment.
What do you think is going in on your nervous system?
Whether it’s true or not, you’re nervous system starts to react: “I’ve been on this road, I know what’s about to happen! They’re going to break up with me!” and you pick up the phone and say “Hello?” “Hey! What’s up?” and you start acting funny and maybe you get mad at them, “I don’t want to talk right now!” and you hang up on them. This will generally leave them a bit confused. They just called because they care about you and they wanted to say “I love you,” but your nervous system linked up a past painful experience to a current experience as if THIS means THAT. Luckily, It’s not true.
THIS does not mean THAT.
Download this episode (right click and save) Let me give you a little bit of science behind this. There is a study done by Martin Seligman years ago where he took animals and put them in a cage. He put a little space in between them, so there are two sides that you can step on. On one side he put a lever for the animal that would turn on/off and send a light electrical current underneath their foot which would hurt. In experiment A, If the animal hit the lever it would shut off the electric shock.
In experiment B, they created the same lever and they made it do nothing. What ever the animal did to the lever the electric shock would not stop – which sounds horrible! PS: I DO NOT endorse experiments like this at all.
In round one, the animal in experiment A figured out how to turn off the shock quickly. The animal in experiment B tried lots of different things but no matter what it did with the switch it did not stop the shock. The scientists stopped, pull the animals out, let them walk around and do other stuff. A few minutes later they placed the animals back in and this time they gave both animals (experiment A & B) the ability to control the electric shock. The first animal (experiment A) who was able to turn it off the first time, quickly turned off the electric shock. The animal in experiment B who’s lever did not work the first time, lied down and just suffered through the shock. Wild right!?
What does this mean to you? I am sure you’ve never just given up and accepted some painful event in your life as “just the way it is”… or have you?
Where in your life right now are you allowing old triggers or memories to link up in your head that makes you think “there’s no point in even trying to change how it is”?
Does this happen in your relationships, business, your finances, emotional life?
Where have you assumed it’s not even worth trying anymore? What if God, Universe or Mother Nature is giving you another chance to make the switch active this time so when you do it, IT WILL ACTUALLY WORK?
What if that next time you did try – you achieved your desired outcome?
Take a moment to dig through your emotions and identify what are a couple of areas of your brain that is linked up to meanings that do not serve you?
Don’t allow something that happened 10 years ago, 10 months ago or 10 days ago to dictate what you’re about to do in the future. I believe in learning from mistakes. I also believe in not allowing your brain to make assumptions that are not always true.
In the movie, “The Mask of Zoro,” the opening scene begins with a guy struggling, frustrated and unable to achieve his goal. He starts to drink away his misery and that’s the moment he crosses paths with his teacher.
His teacher takes him back to a cave where he draws a circle on the ground and he says,
“Nothing in your life matters unless it’s inside this circle.”
What’s interesting is that, if you remember Zoro, you likely remember him as this wild, amazing man who fights villains and is great with women. He wasn’t always this way…
How did a guy transform from struggling, depressed and frustrated with life to someone who has mastered the skills to take on bad guys, defend the innocent and be so great with women with just the concept of a tiny little circle?
Here’s the life lesson: He was able to make a huge transformation in his life and achieve big results simply by focusing on only the small manageable, controllable tasks within the circle and mastering them. You can do the same.
How does this relate to you and your goals?
So many people in the beginning, especially young people, get excited, ambitious, have huge goals that we want to accomplish. You start hearing stuff like “instead of trying to make a billion dollars, trying to change a billion lives”. This, too, is ambitious and a great goal to have, both altruistic and amazing. Unfortunately, these types of goal pose certain problems.
According to research, when people start off with such a big goal, though it’s exciting at first as they make progress and build momentum, when they hit a couple bumps in the road and a few things don’t work it starts to feel as if they are so far away from the peak of the mountain. It starts to feel like it’s not even worth continuing the climb. That’s exactly when people start to give up.
I remember a phrase, “many people die in their thirties but don’t bury until their eighties.” What does that mean?
It means is that people give up on their dreams, their goals and desires somewhere in their 30s and then just kind of exist through the rest of their life. The huge dream that they were once going after now seems so far away that its not even worth putting in the effort to try and get their. It seems hopeless.
I want to prevent that from happening from you!
How do we prevent it? Start small. Start just with a little circle of what you can control and start building the confidence and the certainty through experience that you can absolutely make progress every single day.
For Big Results, Identify The Following:
What are your long term goals – what do you want to achieve 20 years, 30 years, 40 years from now in the major categories of your life?
What are the short term goals – what do you want to achieve in the next 30 days in each category of your life?
Start to link up in your mind everyday by doing the simple daily exercises each day it’s going to lead to that 20-year health goal. If you want more information about this, go to our book “Live It: Achieve Success By Living With Purpose” we give you lots of details of how to do all this.
What we want to do is to start setting up the little daily wins for yourself so you can feel the momentum building, feel the excitement behind it and keep making progress towards your dreams, goals and desires.
The concept of maximizing the moment seems overly simple, but a lot of people out there (especially those reading this) are achievers and need to improve at it! You want the best, the biggest, the fastest, the most amazing life you could ever imagine. And when do you want it? Yesterday.
Many times our greatest strength is that we go out and make big things happen in life. We are overcoming obstacles every single day and we’re going after our dreams. We do whatever it takes to constantly achieve the next level. The tricky part that we face is learning how to enjoy the moment of where we’re at now and embracing that this is exactly where we need to be. As Eckhart Tolle might say “just become present with what is.”
Today we are focused on how to maximize the moment of life that you’re in, instead of just constantly trying to progress to the next one. If the end of life is death, I don’t know about you but I don’t want to get there that fast! I want to enjoy the entire journey and all the amazing experiences from now until then.
In order to maximize the moments we need to figure out what stage of life you are currently in. I’m going to give you some general stages of life to think about:
Ages: 0 to 18 – What’s important to you at this age in life is yourself (i.e. feeding, clothing, having fun, enjoying life, etc.) Sometimes you have a side job for young people, but that’s the least important thing at this stage. The other semi important concept is focused on at this stage is relationships – friendship, community, family, etc.
Ages: 18 to 30 – Usually at this stage, something happens where we lose ourselves. Why? Because it’s all about work, work, work. By 18 years old we are generally consumed by the focus of getting a job and working our faces off. Relationships are sidelined and our own needs are squeezed in between meetings and sleep.
How do you maximize where you’re at?
This is something that we wrote about on our book, “Live It! Achieve Success By Living With Purpose.” We walk you through how to create a Live It! list. The first step is to Identify the stage of life you are in. Instead of rushing through this stage to the next we want you to create a list of everything you want to do to maximize every moment of this stage of life. Get that list accomplished then progress to the next stage.
What we discovered is when we helped entrepreneurs, business owners or even moms and dads with this concept it made a major positive difference in their life and business. We had the opportunity to observe an transformation in their life that happened when they started to enjoy every day. They became more productive in the process because they love it instead of their old pattern of rushing through it all.
Pick up a copy of the book and start creating your LIVE IT list, I look forward to seeing what you accomplish next!!
There are lots of things that you can be passionate about. However, I’ll never forget some great advice from an old friend. I was talking to Brian Tracy a while back and when I asked him, “How do you know if it’s your passion?” He said, “Passion smassion! Here’s what happens. At the beginning of learning something new how in the world are you going to be passionate about it because you’re probably horrible at it?” Think of something you suck at and how passionate are you about that?
In some rare case, they don’t care if they are horrible at it. They just keep doing it because they’re passionate about it. Other times your passion level goes down because you are not good at it, it’s painful to even try because you’re not good at it and don’t know how to do it. And when you compare yourself to other people, it makes you feel even worse. Over time, as your skill level gets better with repetition. Pretty soon, you’re proud of it and passionate about it. Then you are a pro, so you’ll love it! That is the “building your passion technique.”
Another approach that may work for you: If you’re looking for things you love and want to turn your passion into a career or business, think of it this way. You have two options. Your passion can either become your career or it can stay your hobby.
If you decide to turn your passion into a full-time business and that’s the way you want to earn revenue then here’s the combination we need to look at: I’ve seen this done on paper as a neat and helpful Venn diagram – 3 circles.
Circle #1 – What do you love?
Circle #2 — What are you actually good at?
Circle #3 – What people need and what people want?
Focus on that center dot that correlates with all three and BINGO – you’ve found your passion sweet spot and got yourself a quality business!
It means going, going, going, going and then one day, you literally can’t think straight, there’s something in your head but you can’t remember what it was. You wake up in the morning and literally have to drag yourself out of bed and it feels like no matter how much you slam on the gas pedal, your mind is struggling “ugh! Ugh!” energy-wise and that’s BURNOUT. This could be adrenal fatigue, which is literally just burning your mind, body and emotions out. The biggest cause of this is not refilling or not refueling.
What do I mean by this? Think of yourself as a high-performance vehicle and you’re in the Monaco Grand Prix. We fuel you up, rev that engine and the green flag drops – go, go go! You are flying around the track. How many laps can you complete before you start to run out of fuel? Depends on the type of car, but let’s say you are 15-20 laps into the race and all of the sudden you look down and the fuel gauge is starting to move towards empty.
What do you do? If you want to burn out, just keep going. Don’t listen to your pit crew. Don’t pull over for a pit stop. Don’t get any more gasoline. Eventually, you’ll find yourself quickly burnt out on the side of the track standing there watching all the other cars fly by at full speed.
If you see yourself or feel yourself starting to move towards empty, this is the first thing you must do:
1. You have to figure out how you’re going to gauge how full you are mentally, emotionally or physically. How do you gauge that? One thing to do throughout the day is to ask yourself 0 to 10 – Where am I? 0 is empty and 10 is the best you could possibly be. Maybe have a rule that says anytime you get down to a 5 or below you immediately stop, stand up, take a few breaths, take a walk, play your favorite music. Go out and find a way to fuel your mind, fuel your body, get yourself back up to a 10 and then attack the day again.
Now, you might be the type of person that thinks “I could make it.” All the signals are telling you to stop and you push forward thinking “I could make it like 10 more miles. I’ll be good.” If you are that person, make sure that have a daily ritual to ensure that you always refuel your tank first thing in the morning and you never leave it to chance.
2. Once you figure out it’s time to refuel, you have to figure out how you are going to refuel. How are you going to mentally refuel? Depending on your personality type you may be the type of person that needs ‘nothing’ time. Where you go somewhere and do nothing. You don’t think. You don’t move. You just sit there and do nothing.
You could be the type of person who needs exercise and physical activity time. You hit the gym, play some basketball, get your heart rate up, get pumped up and bam! You’re back, baby!
You could be someone who needs people/social time to get around a big group of people and in that group of people you talk to each other and share what happened throughout your day and talk about tomorrow. Talk about what you’re excited about and bingo, you’re full again.
So, if those relate to you, use it! If it doesn’t, find out what fills you up and do that!
Here’s another option – according to research, the top athletes in the world such as Venus Williams, Usain Bolt (fastest man on earth) and others all sleep between 8 to 10 hours a day. Most of us don’t sleep that much. We are told, if you want to get results you must cut down on your sleep. The problem is sleep is where all the magic happens. If you want to avoid burn out, get proper rest and get high quality rest. A very solid resource is a book called Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson. He gives you 21 ways to maximize your sleep, your mind and your body to regenerate. One last tip is simple. Daily meditation – not like hiking the hills in Tibet and sitting on mountains in ancient temples.
Download a simple app called “headspace”, it gives you the basics of meditation. It’s even great for business people who don’t like to meditate, download it and do the first 10 modules. From there use the techniques you learn every day to spend just 10 minutes meditating. If you do that consistently, it will help keep your cortisol levels down, keep your mind focused on the great stuff and keep your body balanced. Also it will give your immune system a better chance of keeping you healthy, strong and fit so you don’t burnout.
Fear – What is fear really? Why is it there in the first place? Where does it come from? Why do we have it?
Fear is something that is good for us (not what I expected to find, but it is!). It is our nervous system asking us, “Hey, are you prepared for what’s about to happen?”
When did this occur? Truth is, it has always been this way. If you go back to caveman days, let us say we are a caveman and we want to go wander around outside of the cave, we are about to go out and suddenly we think of our spear – do we need it or not? We are not going to be wandering around for that long, its just a short trip, do we really need it? This round we decided to leave the spear and wandered out to our favorite tree.
As we begin to relax at our favorite tree the big bush next to us suddenly shakes. In that moment the “fight or flight” response kicks in and the reptilian part of our brain takes over. This means our heart beats faster, sugar is released in our body so that we can move quickly, our adrenaline spikes, we become little bit tense, our pupils dilate so we can take in as much information as possible and move on it very rapidly.
Why does this happen? Because if something with large teeth is in the bush and about to pounce on us, we need to get out there fast. This is a simple system built into our body to check and see if we are prepared for what is about to happen. If we are not, it says, “Run!!!!” If we are prepared it says, “Fight it!”
Reverse the scenario: we are heading out of the cave, we look and see our spear and say, “I am going to take it just in case.” We cruise over, have it in our hand, doing our thing, trying to relax. The big bush shakes. Now what happens, our heart beat starts racing, we get sweaty palms, we get butterflies in our stomach. Why? Because we are excited! Hopefully, it is dinner!
What is the difference? It is not the biological response. People assume that if we have our spear with us, we will be calm and peaceful the whole time. That is not true. I’ve heard it said that the difference between fear and excitement is what we are anticipating in the future. Looking at an event that is about to happen and thinking about what could go WRONG with this event causes FEAR. Looking at the same event thinking about what could go RIGHT with this event causes EXCITEMENT.
This is something that we have to train ourselves to do. Our brain doesn’t automatically make this stuff up, it doesn’t automatically go to what’s right or what’s wrong. According to research, we have 60,000 thoughts a day. 95% of those thoughts are usually the same day to day. 80% of those thoughts are negative, according to scientific research, in the way people think.
That means if your brain is searching for what could go wrong, you have to purposely challenge yourself to focus on what could go right. All that means is catching yourself in the moment when your brain goes “what could go wrong?” and stopping take a breathe first, count to 5, clear your mind and then ask: What could go right in this situation? and choosing to focus on that instead! That is a simple little shift, that WORKS!
The other thing you could do is think about an event that might give you anxiety or fear and just ask yourself: What key things have to happen for me to feel 100% totally prepared for what’s about to happen? If you are able to do those things, the fear should subside and you should be totally confident because you have done the homework.
According to research we have 60k thoughts per day and 95% of these thoughts are just the same day to day. What’s interesting is around 80% of those thoughts are negative. I was reading a book by Dr. Daniel Amen, called these Automatic Negative Thoughts meaning we’re building habits or routine they automatically become negative thoughts. It means that over time you’ve built in little consistent patterns of always seeing what’s wrong in a situation. Always identifying what you don’t like about what’s going on. These negative thoughts keep you from doing what you want and slow you down.
How do you change that?
How do you change your automatic negative thought to automatic positive thought?
What are the benefits to this? If you are always looking what’s wrong in your life, what you focus on is what you feel. What you focus on is also what you move towards. How do I know that? When I went to racing school, they teach you wherever you focus on is where you go. If you’re driving a car 160–180 mph around the track and you start staring at the wall, you’re going to find your car drifting towards the wall. Usually someone in your ears is going to say, “Hey focus!” It’s a very simple thing but in life when you find yourself thinking about goal and goal and goal, you will find yourself moving closer towards that.
How to build your optimism muscle, let’s go to Dr. Martin Seligman (one of the forefathers of Happiness Psychology School of Thought) and he found out something interesting. He was the one who found out about Learned Helplessness, it is someone who has taught themselves how to be mentally and emotionally helpless. These people produce lots of automatic negative thoughts no matter what happens in their life, they find a way to figure out what’s wrong with it and what’s not right and how it will not allow them to do what they want to do. Learned helplessness is also not trying to make things better. This is based on our explanation styles, how you explain an event that happens to ourselves in our own mind.
There are 2 types of explanation styles: an optimistic explanation style and pessimistic explanation style — in 3 specific areas.
1. Permanence — it will always be this way
a. Pessimistic — it will always be this bad
b.Optimistic — eventually it will get better
2. Pervasiveness — is it everywhere or is just here?
a.Pessimistic — negative events are happening everywhere and no matter where you go you will always run into a negative event.
b.Optimistic — it only happens in one quadrant and it’s okay because it’s not everywhere
Optimistic — if something bad happens, it wasn’t them
Pessimistic — takes personal responsibility for the bad thing
If you want to train yourself to build more optimism in your, you have to train yourself to explain all events in your life by an OPTIMISTIC explanatory style.
5 Techniques you can do:
Journaling the best possible scenario to help boost your happiness advantage
Random act of kindness to people
Exercise 20 minutes of getting your heart rate elevated
In your journey of entrepreneurism… getting the dream job you’ve always wanted… stepping up and marrying the person that you think is the love of your life, whatever it is on your journey, inevitably you’re going to cross paths with naysayers, people who look at you with a straight face and say to you “well, that’s a silly idea! Why would you do that?” People who talk you out of opportunities that you believe in and are really, truly amazing. People who come about and support you on one occasion, but then attempt to stop you from doing what you are doing on another occasion.
Now, inevitably you’re always going to cross paths with people like that and it’s nothing against them, but people have asked – what do you do when starting a your new business, you believe in it, you’re passionate about it – how do you get friends, family, community members to support you in your journey? How do you get people around you to be there for you when you needed them the most?
Here’s the truth, when you are looking outside yourself for support and for emotional rocket fuel to drive you forward, you are looking in the wrong direction. Yes, we all need support from time to time. Yes we all need team members to be there for us when it matters most at the same time.
In the journey of entrepreneurialism (long word!), you’re going to have to create so much belief, so much certainty, so much internal emotional rocket fuel that even if there isn’t anyone around you telling you “good job”, “you can do it”, “way to go” you keep going anyways. Because you are not doing it for the applause, you’re not doing it for the support, you’re not doing it for the love and connection. You are doing it because you believe in what you are doing.
The way to do this is to think about it. For most people, it’s scary to take that step into the unknown and step into a place where there is no guaranteed income and you are not sure what you are going to earn from month to month,, but you’re going to show up and deliver regardless of this. Sometimes what you’ve delivered in the beginning doesn’t work anymore and you’ve got to change, adapt and adjust.
Your whole industry may even get disrupted and all of a sudden you’ve got to change again, that’s part of the journey. For most people, thinking about that freaks them out that much and it would take a small army to inspire them to go out and try it.
For other people that brave the journey, here are some core elements I’ve seen in those people that are strongest:
They are fighting for something much more than themselves. They’re fighting for their family, their kids, for their community. When I say fighting, I mean working. They are fighting the battle of life, they are going after it for something much more than themselves. They found a reason or many reasons stacked together that compels them to action every day.
This reason is so compelling and so meaningful to them, that it takes a small army to keep them from following through. When they up in the morning, they put on their best outfit and they go out the door to do what they have to do. Even if the line men from the Dallas Cowboys were standing at their door, they would say, “get out of the way!” and walk right through them with total certainty because they have so much focus and intensity towards getting to their goals.
And they do it with so much intensity and passion, the whole line team would follow them out and say, “Okay let’s get it done!” This power doesn’t depend on your size, it’s the energy and passion that comes from within. In order to create this, you must find a reason that is bigger than yourself and find multiple reasons that drive you and spark a fire within.
Many people say, “I can’t find my reason!” The truth is, you’ve got to stack them every single day. So how does this work? Everyday come up with 5 more reasons as to why you’re going out there and making it happen. Then once you have come up with these 5 reasons, read the whole list. Here’s what I have realized over the years in coaching people in performance – one reason will not work all the time, but all reasons will work some of the time. The key here is that you keep on stacking more and more.
Then look at the negative side of things. What are the painful consequences that will occur in your life if you don’t follow through now? Then go back and forth – stack more pleasure, stack more pain. Pretty soon you will know it’s working when you are no longer able to sit still and think about it. When you find yourself literally standing up, storming out the door and making it happen because that’s what you call “emotional threshold.” This is when you stack and stack pain and pleasure back and forth and then you cross threshold and when you do, you are immediately in action.
Now people say, do I have to do this every day? Can’t I just wake up and want to do it? NO. That’s what it takes. Do you think an Olympic runner wakes up every morning and says, “I want to run around the tracks a few more rounds today!” That’s not necessarily how they feel all the time – some days they don’t feel like training and some days they don’t feel like running. They’ve got to pile this stuff on and say, “If I don’t train hard now, I’m going to get my butt kicked when it matters most.”
It’s a super simple concept that is super easy to understand. We’ve created a worksheet for you that will help you stack pain with pleasure.
If you are constantly pulling against them, it is going to consistently show up for you. Do something that is called aligning and redirecting. What that means is if they say, “it won’t work” instead step on their side and say, “listen, maybe you are right, maybe it won’t. But it is something that I believe in and I ask that you support me. Even if you don’t believe in the idea, at least believe in me as your brother/sister/daughter/son/ husband/wife, etc and I’d really appreciate that”
If You This Now Sacrifice and You’ll Pay For It Later…
I’m fiercely passionate about today’s topic. It’s an area of life that so many people neglect without realizing how crucial it is to their health.
So often people sacrifice their sleep (health) as they are building their business, career, or wealth, and once they achieve their so called success they land up using all that they earned to try and buy back their health (it doesn’t usually work out like they imagined).