Shawn Achor spent 12 years studying success & happiness at Harvard University. Specifically, which comes first, success or happiness.
His conclusion was our society’s formula for success and happiness is broken. While we love to believe “When I am successful then I will be happier” it is actually the opposite that is far, far more likely to be true… “When I am happy then I will be more successful”.
Happiness makes you more successful.
Not the other way around.
Shawn has 5 quick exercises that are proven to increase your happiness levels (and given the above – your success level too!)
1. Write down 3 new things you are grateful for each day.
Research shows this will significantly improve your optimism even 6 months later, and raises your success rates significantly.
2. Write for 2 minutes a day describing one positive experience you had over the past 24 hours.
This is a strategy to help transform you from a task-based thinker, to a meaning based thinker who scans the world for meaning instead of endless to-dos. This dramatically increases work happiness.
3. Exercise for 10 minutes a day.
This trains your brain to believe your behavior matters, which causes a cascade of success throughout the rest of the day.
4. Meditate for 2 minutes, focusing on your breath going in and out.
This will help you undo the negative effects of multitasking. Research shows you get multiple tasks done faster if you do them one at a time. It also decreases stress and raises happiness.
5. Write one, quick email first thing in the morning thanking or praising a member on your team.
This significantly increases your feeling of social support, which in my study at Harvard was the largest predictor of happiness for the students.
The best bit is there’s no need to do them all, one is a good start.
Try them for 21 days and let me know how you go.