Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Before Happiness

If you were wondering about my failed attempts at 21 days of 3 positive things - this book is the cause.  The problem I personally had was losing one of my best friends (no he didn't die) at least for now, and my inability to deal with the sadness that caused. (I'm slowly becoming able to be thankful for all the wonderful memories, and like Garth Brooks says in the Dance- I could have missed the pain but then I'd have to miss the dance.  And I'm seriously holding on to him promising to be in touch at some point in the future, and jealous of his faith that our friendship was meant and will be back someday)  But I can't hold that against the book, although this made it harder to read the last section than the first three I started prior to 3 weeks ago.

Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness, and Sustaining Positive ChangeBefore Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness, and Sustaining Positive Change by Shawn Achor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A lot of happiness self-help books are basically a bunch of bunk in my opinion. This book actually gives you the tools to develop a more positive approach to life and even more valuable tools to help spread this positivity to those around you.

Simple things - 3 extra smiles per day, use the power lead (speak first not loudest), making stress work for you, map the meaning in your life, spot and stop the hijackers, do something altruistic, identify your x spots, make 70% your goal, keep your eyes on the beach not the rocks. etc.

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I making notes here, so I hopefully don't have to re-read the book when my frame of mind improves.

First - and this is really important - there is a difference between being positive within reality and being a blanket optimist. And positive realism allows you to make changes while pure optimism really doesn't.

The book is split up into five sections:


1. Reality Architecture:
  •      Recognize the existence of multiple realities, change the details your brain focuses on.
  •      See a greater range of realities, train your brain to see additional vantage points.
  •      Select the most valuable reality that is both positive and true. 
2. Mental Cartography:

  •      Identify and set better goals by highlighting meaning markers in your life
  •      Distinguish true meaning from decoys and mental hijackers
  •      Chart more direct routes around those markers.
  •      Map success routes before escape routes.
3. The X-Spot:

  •      Zoom in on the target- build in a headstart, set subgoals, highlight progress to date not what is left to do.
  •      Magnify the target size. Remind yourself of past success, decrease the number of perceived obstacles, choose goals you perceive as having at least 70% success.
  •      Recalculate thrust. think in terms of objective units rather than perceived effort. Decrease effort and focus on worry or fear.
4.  Noise Cancelling:

  • Cancel out negative or useless (won't be acted on) information that distracts you from true signals.
  • 4 criteria of noise. 
  • reduce noise by 5%
  • cancel out internal noise: worry, fear, anxiety, pessimism.
5. Positive Inception:

  • Transferring your positive reality to others.
  •  Franchise success.
  • Taking the power lead.
  • Plant meaning.
  • Use those around you to create renewable, sustainable positive energy.

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