Scanning for the Positive – 21 Days to Happiness

Recently I had to lead a team huddle at work. Our huddles usually consist of daily productivity updates, goals to hit, new announcements and then a “fun fact” or two. I decided to go in a different direction that morning. That morning I had stumbled upon an excellent Ted talk that really hit it home for me and this transformational time I’m in the midst of.

It’s called, “The happy secret to better work”. In it, Shawn Anchor, an American happiness researcher, author, and speaker known for his advocacy of positive psychology, breaks down the different ways human beings keep themselves from happiness.

He talks about success and the constant stress and pressure that lies beneath it all – oh, and how scientifically backward it is that every time we hit a goal, we change it.

Anchor makes the point that “every time your brain has a success, you just changed the goalpost of what success looked like. You got good grades, now you have to get better grades, you got into a good school and after you get into a better one, you got a good job, now you have to get a better job, you hit your sales target, we’re going to change it. And if happiness is on the opposite side of success, your brain never gets there. We’ve pushed happiness over the cognitive horizon, as a society. And that’s because we think we have to be successful, then we’ll be happier.”

Through extensive research, Anchor found that in just a two-minute span of time, for 21 days in a row, you can actually rewire your brain.  At the end of the 21 days, your brain starts to retain a pattern of scanning the world for positivity first, rather than negativity.

My jaw dropped. I had this intense urge to share with my peers at work.

I presented to them the 21-day challenge. Two minutes a day, three things a day, for 21 days. Simple.

My challenge to you is the same. Take a gander at Anchor’s talk and join me in 21 days of gratitude. You’ll thank yourself for it later.


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