5 Daily Habits to Increase your Level of Optimism
Earlier this week I had a chance to catch up with happiness researcher Shawn Achor. He wrote The Happiness Advantage and has just released a new book called Before Happiness. Part of why I appreciate his work so much is that it’s practical.
There’s no meditating in Ashrams in India for months or dropping acid required. You can do almost all of these things on a daily basis with little to no effort....
1. Write down 3 things you are grateful for that happen in the last 24 hours.
While the gratitude list is nothing new, this approach to it is a bit refreshing. The list can be full of really simple things or little moments. Some days I’ve included “eating ice cream” as a thing to be a grateful for. Conveniently there’s an app called Happierfor this.
2. Journaling about a positive meaningful experience for 2 minutes
According to Achor’s research if this is repeated for 21 days you’ll find meaning embed throughout your life and dots really start to connect.
“Exercise is a gateway drug for the brain. Once you exercise your brain believes that your behavior matters”—Shawn Achor
This might take more than 2 minutes a day. But something as simple as taking a daily walk can make a world of difference. I know that since I started surfing 5 years ago, my overall level of happiness is significantly higher.
4. Meditate for 2 minutes a day
I know I said no meditating at Ashrams. Fortunately you won’t have to set foot in one if you don’t want to. Take 2 minutes each day just to pay attention to your breath, disconnect, and turn down the volume.
5. Send a positive 2 minute email to somebody in the morning
This is another one of those fairly effortless things to do, but makes a world of difference. I sent an email to an old professor thanking her for the influence she’s had on my life. And when you get a response back it reconnects you to that person.
I know I've been kind of MIA because I've been heavily focused on BlogcastFM. But today's interview from the show is one you'll love. It's with a happiness researcher.
"Why get an education by sitting on your ass, where the more you memorize, the more educated you are? Wisdom comes from intent, experience, and finding courage." - Doc Paskowitz
WHY THE SF DEPT OF PARKING SHOULD ERECT A STATUE IN MY HONOR
If you’ve ever lived in San Francisco, then you’ve likely had a running with this crack squad known as the DPT (aka Department of Parking and Transportation). They earn their revenue by putting up really confusing street signs, assigning arbitrary times to sections of streets when you “can’t park” there and issuing countless tickets to SF residents. They are merciless bastards.
The tickets can cost up to 75 bucks o...
A little inspiration to start your morning
"Don’t move so fast that you forget to Remember." http://buff.ly/16D3ag2 (via @ajleon)
SPEND YOUR LIFE ON SOMETHING MEANINGFUL, START TODAY
"The most valuable land in the world is the graveyard. In the graveyard are buried all the unwritten novels, never launched businesses, unreconciled relationships and all of the other things that people thought "I'll get around to that tomorrow". One day however, their tomorrows ran out." - A friend of Todd Henry
You've probably had hundreds of ideas. You have probably come up with a list of reasons why you can't' do any o...
For those of you who wanted to see what I've been up to with drawing, I've put a good amount of my sketches on this pinterest board
This is an old, but wildly popular post from the archives. It's actually the most popular post because it went viral. Hope you like it
I know i've been kind of MIA here. I've been busy wrapping my new book. If you're following my personal updates you've been exposed to some of it. This is a little something from this morning.
DIMINISHING PERMANENCE AND UNMISTAKABLE DENTS IN THE UNIVERSE
"All Change is Preceded by Crisis"- Soren Kierkegard
The catalyst for making dramatic changes in y...our life is rarely something spectacular. It usually occurs in a loss of some kind:
The end of a relationship
The death of a loved one
Getting Fired from a Job
Having a Big Project Fail
And no question that those moments devastate, demolish, and break us. We’re all broken in our own ways. But as I’ve said there’s a difference between broken and beyond repair.
- Broken can be fixed.
- Broken can eventually lead to something far greater than you ever imagined.
- Broken could be what finally causes you to take a bold step, or experience what my friend AJ refers to as a brief moment of audacity.
People have asked me how I ended up on my path. By now, It’s no secret that I wasn’t some corporate superstar. As far as the path, I didn’t have a choice.
I had to choose myself because nobody was choosing me.
I had to choose myself because I saw a cubicle as a prison sentence.
I had to choose myself because it was my only option.
I had to choose myself because all I had was a blank page and a resume that looked more like a rap sheet.
I committed career suicide. I cut off the possibility of this not working out and having to return to a safe, secure, socially approved life. That ship sailed. And when one ship sails you can either sit around waiting for the next one to arrive or you can build your own ship, and take a voyage out to sea that may just change your life. And if you die out there, at least you didn’t die of boredom.
And sometimes we need loss, we need adversity, we need failure, to open up a space in our lives for creating something that didn’t exist before. The accolades, accomplishments, things we’ve accumulated and what we’re hanging onto for dear life are exactly what hold us back. They keep us from exploring the unknown, and ending up at destinations we never planned to arrive at.
Once you realize that we live in a world of diminishing permanence it becomes much easier to let go.
You can let go of the idea that things matter as much as you think they do.
You can let go of the meaning you’ve given every single experience you’ve had (a terrifying and liberating feeling).
You can let go of letting external measures define you as a person.
Remember, diminishing permanence. In other words all those things you’re hanging onto for dear life are either going to change or you’re going to lose them some day.
And when you loosen the grip a little something interesting happens. Everything comes back into your life in a cosmic sort of way. When you grasp something so tightly you cut off its ability to flow in and out of your life and the other lives it was meant to touch. In the world we live in today, connection, charisma, and trust are what we reward and the only way to do that is to loosen your grip.
The other day I had a conversation with the graffiti artist, Erik Wahl. Even if you’re not a blogger or entrepreneur, I recommend listening to it (linked below). When I asked him about his path he said “I had to lose everything to gain my life back.”
Sometimes you have to lose everything. Just remember that even loss has a diminishing permanence to it. What you create in its place may just be what causes you to make an unmistakable dent in the universe.
- Written from a coffee shop in Santa Barbara