Sunday, March 11, 2012

Activity 10 - 30 days of more happiness


The talks
A few weeks ago I watched a talk by Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work. Apart from being one of the funniest talks I think I've seen on TED, Shawn tied his theory up in neat little 5 step process, which means it was a shoe in for inclusion in my project.

Whilst I have selected and scheduled the majority of the activities so far, I had left some gaps for talks that inspired me during the project. There have also been a small number of planned activities that I've felt wouldn't really work as a full 30 day activity, now that I've really gotten into it all. That means I had a spare slot, so what better way to fill it than with more happiness.

There are many talks on TED that are about improving happiness, including some of the talks used as activities in the project to date. For that reason I struggled with what to call this activity, and what other talks might complement Shawn's.

I decided to include two others in this activity, Nic Marks: The Happy Planet Index (also a concept talk) and Ric Elias: 3 things I learned while my plane crashed.

The challenge
I already feel like I have increased my general happiness and contentment with my life. Through many of the activities I have undertaken I feel a lot happier and more confident. But who couldn't use more happiness in their life?

The challenge with this activity is to do the exercises that Shawn outlines in his talk and be more mindful of the things that Nic and Ric both talk about, to see if I can achieve an even greater positive focus and maybe even more happiness.

The activity
Shawn lists five daily activities that they have people do as part of improving their happiness:
  1. Write down 3 gratitudes each day - this should only take 2 minutes and is 3 new things I am grateful for.
  2. Journaling one positive experience in the last 24 hours.
  3. Exercise - I love setting myself up to fail :-)
  4. Meditation - and I am a glutton for punishment.
  5. Random act of kindness - taking me all the way back to the focus of Activity 2. Shawn recommends sending a positive email thanking or praising someone in your network every morning.
Ric's three life lessons are:
  1. Don't postpone anything.
  2. Eliminate negative energy - that one is easier said than done in my work environment.
  3. Be the best parent you can be. 
Now, since I am not a parent I am taking this to mean that I should focus on being mindful of being the best whatever role I am doing with Derek, my family and friends.

And last but nor least, Nic's Happy Planet Index lists five ways to wellbeing, well worth visiting the website for more information about them:
  1. Connect - with the people around you.
  2. Be active - can you see the alignment here?
  3. Take notice - be aware, appreciate simple things and reflect on your life.
  4. Keep learning - try something new or take up a course; challenge yourself.
  5. Give - do something nice for a friend or a stranger.
While this may look like a long list of things to achieve, I think it is quite clear that there is significant alignment between Nic and Shawn. It is also cheating a little as I have continued doing some of these things from previous activities. But some continue to elude me, not so surprisingly the physical ones like meditation and exercise.

Importantly, I hope to have the time to journal and write my three gratitudes on the blog, which will hopefully hold me more accountable for doing the work.

By the way, don't you love the artwork this week. Nothing says more happiness like armfuls of puppies :-) thanks Matt.

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