Shawn Achor, a researcher at Harvard, figured out to be more successful in a simple way. He states that you can do that in 21 days with just 2 minutes a day.
Does that sound too good to be true?
No, it is not, as Achor explains in his bestselling book The Happiness Advantage. He studied happiness for years and he gave a very popular TED Talk on this subject. He claims that if you focus on increasing your happiness you will also be more successful.
His formula consists of a couple of simple strategies to rewire your brain.
Step 1 Consider problems as challenges, not threats.
This blog will also explain how to do that.
Step 2 Ask for help!
Many people have the tendency to work harder when they are very busy. That is also the case for many PhD students: long working days, few breaks, working in weekends, lots of stress. The recipe for burnout.
Those who deal well with stress make sure to have many social contacts during busy periods. Social connection is the greatest predictor of happiness. So, make connections, ask for help. You will be happier. It works two ways: people who help others are the happiest.
Step 3: Every day, write a thank-you-email
You think you will become happy because of your big successes. That is not true according to research. Small things are much more important. Try to introduce ‘daily happiness habits’ like gratitude, meditation, and exercise.
Achor also suggests writing a thank-you-email every morning once you open up your computer, praising or thanking someone in your social network. It will only cost you 2 minutes a day and it will create ripples of positivity.
Step 4: Make it easier doing what you want to do
Would you like to start writing a thank you email every day, but are you having problems keeping that habit? According to Shawn it is the ‘activation energy’ that stops you from doing things you should.
You probably recognize this: you are planning to go for a run, but your sofa is too comfortable. So how to make sure you will get your butt from the sofa which as little action as possible. You have to reduce the amount of ‘activation energy’, so make new habits 20 seconds easier to start. Achor would sleep in his running gear and put his running shoes right next to his bed. Changes are big you will go for a run.
Achor says it as follows: ‘If you can make the positive habit 3 to 20 seconds easier to start, your likelihood of doing it rises dramatically. And you can do the same thing by flipping it for negative habits. Watching too much television? Merely take out the batteries of the remote control creating a 20-second delay and it dramatically decreases the amount of television people will watch.’
The trick is to create new habits. And these can be really small. Small things matter. Tiny habits will create big changes.
Is it really true?
Some critics claim that the positive psychology of Achor is too forced and happy and that is not the whole story. However, there are many people who agree with Shawn.
Of course, you can decide for yourself!