Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Jeff Fastnacht on 23-02-2016

Many of us grew up in a generation where we were continually reinforced continually that if we just got an A in this class we would be happy.  Then it was, if we were just valedictorian, captain of the team, got into this college, got this certain job… each of these would make us happy.  Were we always happy?

I want to ask you to consider changing the lens of happiness.  Instead of being successful.. then happiness following let us turn that around. If we focused on our happiness first, we can be more successful in school and work.  This is a concept I had the opportunity to learn more about at the National AASA Convention in Phoenix earlier this month.  It is promoted by Shawn Achor author of “The Happy Secret to Better Work” based on his work at Harvard University.  I encourage you to take 10 minutes and watch his presentation on TEDx

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After a life time of watching my generation chase after the American dream yet continuing to be unhappy, his message resonated with me.  Are we reinforcing the same industry, assembly line belief, that if we just get to the end we will be happy?  I think we do.  We say it and reinforce it all the time.  Just think about it in your own home.  I can find 10 ways right now that we do this in school.  But, what if we changed our focus on happiness first, success second as Achor proposes?

In his work he identifies three predictors of happiness.  They are:

  • Optimism – the belief your behavior will eventually matter)
  • Social Connections
  • How we perceive stress (as a challenge or as a threat)

He recommends five actions that we all can do for just 21 days that could change our happiness and success.  He proposes 21 days as it takes this long to make a new habit in our brains.

1. Bring gratitude to mind – write down three new things that you are grateful for each day.
2. Journal – About a positive experience you had in the last 24 hours.
3. Exercise – 15 min
4. Meditate – Just watch your body breathe for 2 minutes each day.
5. Random acts of kindness – write a positive email, compliment someone, etc.

My point in sharing this is lets try.  I am starting today – Feb 23rd, 2016.  I will let you know more after 21 days (March 15th, 2016).  I would like to know if you try and if it works for you.