Well, I can’t say all good things must come to an end because I believe the effects of “Happiness Month” around VoiceNation will last for a long time, but I can say the Happiness Series for staff development has wrapped up its final session…for now at least.
This week to finish up the series, we dove into the book Before Happiness by Shawn Achor. This book came after his first book, The Happiness Advantage, which we studied the first three weeks of the month. In this new book, Shawn laid out the 5 hidden keys to achieving success, spreading happiness, and sustaining positive change. For me personally, this book had a profound effect. Some of it could have been how closely I could relate to the keys he laid out and some it could have been just after reading, studying, and teaching the lessons from the first book, that my mind was in a spot to process all of the information differently. Who knows?
“If you want to change your life, you first have to change your reality.” By Shawn Achor
This quote set the tone for the whole book. Before ewe can taste true happiness and success we have to filter through our personal perception of the world or worldview. We have to understand that we have to be able to see that there can be a positive outcome, change, or pathway before we can actually attempt it. In our session, we discussed the concept of what Shawn calls “Positive Genius”, which is the ability to create a positive reality where you can access your cognitive, intellectual, and emotional resources to create true, positive change. This is not the absence of a negative reality, but it is seeing and knowing that there as alternate ways or vantage points of a situation or circumstance and that you have the ability to do something about it.
Below is a summary of the 5 keys and our discussion about them in our staff development lesson for this week.
5 Skills for Sustaining Positive Change and Happiness:
1. Reality Architecture – Choosing the Most Valuable Reality
This is the ability and process of focusing on the reality that is most helpful to you – focusing on the positives, while not ignoring the negatives but filling in the negatives and blind spots with information that is true and valid for positive growth. By doing this we are able to raise our levels of motivation and engagement to see more opportunities and possibilities that other may miss. It also helps us to create more innovative solutions to problems, reduce our stress levels, and layout a path to achievement.
2. Mental Cartography – Mapping Your Success Route
In this section, we discussed setting our life goals around the things that matter most to us personally. The goals are called “meaning markers”. They are mental signposts in our brains that consider valuable and are things that we have a deep emotional connection with. The more meaning there is behind what we do, how we work, or who we interact with, the more mental and emotional resources we release to experience more productivity and success. We have to individual nail down on a personal level what is most meaningful to us in life and in our work, and understand why it is meaningful.
3. The X-Spot – Finding Success Accelerants
This is all about how we mentally view the target we are trying to hit. We have to learn to change our brain’s perception of the distance to the target, the size of the target, or the amount of energy it will take to hit the target. We cannot allow ourselves to be defeated before we even take the first shot. Positive geniuses construct the facts in their reality so that the goals seem within their reach and they are able to harness the mental resources to hit the goal faster and more effectively.
4. Noise Canceling – Eliminating the Negative Noise
This one was a huge one for me since I could completely relate to this. It is so difficult to block or counteract the negativity and “noise” around us. Part of this is that we almost have an addiction to noise and distraction. We have to learn how to focus on the right things at the right time, and disengage from conversations, media or even people that meet any of the four criteria of noise” unusable, untimely, hypothetical, or distracting.
All of that is external noise, but what about the internal noise? This is all the negative thinking and conversations we have with ourselves that are inspired by fear, anxiety, self-doubt, and pessimism. This can be more dangerous than external noise because it impairs us from hearing positive signals, but undermines and undoes all of our efforts at creating positive change. We have to learn how to cancel out and stop the negative thoughts that enter our minds. Once we realize how good we are at creating negative realities in our minds, it will show us that we do have the power and abilities to create positive ones.
5. Positive Inception – Spreading the Positivity
We can affect the environment and people around us in a positive way. By activating and operating in our valuable, positive reality we can help others see their own possibilities. Other will feed off of your passion, energy, and motivation and it will spread into their lives and create change and growth. The more we share with other the more we end up growing ourselves as it reinforces the meaning markers in our lives.
“If you are successful at creating a positive reality but incapable of sharing it with others, then that reality will be limited and short-lived, but by utilizing the techniques of positive inception, you can create a renewable source of positive energy for you and the people around you.” By Shawn Achor
This has been a great month of learning, growth, and happiness for us here at the VoiceNation office. Not only from the lessons but the change and growth in the environment and culture here. It has been great with the coffee bars, food trucks, and surprises throughout the month. It is awesome to think that this was only the beginning of it all.