If there’s one thing a yellow rubber duck can do, it’s make people smile. So when a 40 foot rubber duck floated into Pittsburgh recently for a three week visit, it’s not surprising that more than a million people flocked to see it. It’s a sure bet too that everyone who came to see it walked away happier – and better positioned for success.
Why? Because happiness impacts our ability to succeed. Success might be landing a job promotion, receiving an award, or learning to walk all over again after an injury.
However you define success, think of happiness as the attitude displayed in the story of “The Little Engine That Could”. It’s what drives us – making us feel fulfilled, giving us energy, and enabling us to persevere through the ups and downs. Yes, being happy is the fuel that leads us to our goal.
It’s not only something I’ve discovered along the way, it’s a scientific fact.
Shawn Achor, the Founder of GoodThinkInc, is the world’s leading positive psychology expert. He has earned more than a dozen distinguished awards from Harvard University for his research based teaching on the connection between happiness and success.
His students aren’t the only people listening. Shawn’s TED talk, The Happy Secret to Better Work, currently has more than 5 million views. In his talk, he shares that optimism is a predictor of success. While it’s widely believed that we should work to be happy, Shawn says it’s really the other way around.
“If you can raise somebody’s level of positivity in the present, then their brain experiences what we now call a happiness advantage, which is your brain at positive performs significantly better than it does at negative, neutral or stressed.
Your brain at positive is 31 percent more productive than your brain at negative, neutral or stressed. You’re 37 percent better at sales. Doctors are 19 percent faster, more accurate at coming up with the correct diagnosis when positive instead of negative, neutral or stressed. If we can find a way of becoming positive in the present, then our brains work even more successfully as we’re able to work harder, faster and more intelligently,” he said.
Shawn has discovered a formula to re-wire our brains so that we can become more positive. It’s a 21 day exercise to have you thinking optimistically and it works. Here’s how:
Journal two minutes a day and write about a positive experience you’ve had recently. It will allow your brain to relive it.
Exercise every day. It’s not only good for your body, it’s good for your mind too.
Meditate two minutes a day to get out of multi-tasking mode and to allow your brain to simply focus.
Consciously perform a random act of kindness each day, like writing one positive email praising or thanking somebody in your support network or complimenting someone on social media.
Whatever the goal, the journey to success begins by having an optimistic outlook. So be happy and just see how far it takes you.