When the Queen of Hip-hop Soul, Mary J. Blige, sang those words in 1994 (when I was but a wee babe,) she was referring to a romantic relationship but as it turns out happiness also gives us an advantage when it comes to being successful. And who doesn’t want that? Everybody wants that!
“I just wanna be, I just wanna be successful..“ – Drake & Trey Songz, 2009
I recently watched Shawn Achor‘s TEDTalk on the happiness advantage (specifically the connection between happiness and success) in preparation for seeing him at the WorkHuman conference in April. He was super engaging and funny and made me really look forward to his keynote address. I enjoy when people use humor to provoke thought.
You may not know this about me, but I’m lowkey obsessed with psychology. Why we are how we are. Why we do what we do. Why we think how we think. That type of thing. Mental illness, personality types.. the list goes on. I’ve also suffered from a major depressive disorder for the majority of my life. So, while it sounds good, I’ve never really been a fan of the whole “thinking happy thoughts will make you happy” mantra. However, this talk on positive psychology spoke to me. This piece in particular stood out:
“It’s not necessarily the reality that shapes us but the lens through which your brain views the world shapes your reality. 90% of long term happiness is predicted by the way your brain processes the world.”
Well, damn. 90%!
Of course I’ve heard some variation on this theme before but, maybe it was his delivery, maybe I was more receptive because I was sleep deprived, I don’t know but suddenly it felt like a weight had been lifted and a light bulb had been illuminated. This little nugget nearly took me over the edge:
“The absence of disease is not health.”
It was like free therapy!
Achor posits, based on research, that by doing the following every day for 21 days we can create lasting positive change:
- 3 Gratitudes – new ones each day
- Journaling – 1 positive thing
- Exercise – teaches us our behavior matters
- Meditation – calms down our brains
- Random (or Conscious) Acts of Kindness – suggests sending a positive email to one person in your network daily
If you follow me on Twitter, and you should, you already know I’m a huge proponent of the WorkHuman conference and movement. I planned to attend even before the speakers were announced. Knowing there will be speakers of this caliber makes it that much better. If you’re not there, you’ll wish you were and life is too short for regrets.
Join me in Austin, TX this April! I guarantee you’ll leave uplifted and inspired to not only be your best self but to share what you’ve learned at work and with others so they will feel inspired and empowered to be their best, whole selves as well. Registration rates increase February 1 so don’t wait. Use code WH18INF-TRA for $100 off your registration fee. Happiness, success AND money savings – don’t say I never gave you anything. 🙂
*DISCLAIMER: To be clear, I am in no way, shape or form, saying, indicating or otherwise implying that positive thinking “cures” depression or anything of that nature. I only mentioned it for context.