“Happiness is not the belief that we don’t need to change, it is the realization that we can.” — Shawn Achor The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor.
I just finished reading The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor and his perspective on our ability to change is purely scientific. He’s a happiness researcher, non the less, and has countless scientific studies on the brains capacity to change in response to its environment. Achor argues that indeed, we can in fact, teach an old dog new tricks.
So how does changing your brain apply to being happy?
As some of you may know I started a personal growth journey last year and during this time of growth I’ve worked tirelessly at doing just that – change to become happy.
I had a multitude of negative habits to tackle and I did so mostly one at a time. It’s been hard work, and every time I think I’m finished, I learn more lessons and realize more about myself that I need to work on.
But tackling these habits wasn’t what led me to the feeling of happiness or joy.
No it wasn’t the end result at all. It was the journey – the process of change – that ultimately made me feel good.
Setting goals and achieving them, practicing gratitude, finding my sense of self, facing things from my past – all of these hard challenges made me feel — good.
What sparked the feeling of happiness wasn’t change – it was the belief that I could change. It was the belief that I had untapped potential and therefore could grow and be a better version of myself each new day.
I have witnessed first hand the brains ability to change, but if you would have asked me two years ago I thought change was possible – I would probably have said that it wasn’t.
If you’re like me two years ago, and you believe you’ll never be happy, and that change isn’t possible let me say this – just try. Try one new thing in the direction of happiness.
Maybe drink more water, read a book, take a nap, go for a walk, have a hard conversation, wake up ten minutes earlier, do fifteen minutes of stretching, or watch a funny video and laugh.
After you do that, do one more thing, and then one more thing. You’ll get a positive feeling that will spark happiness and you’ll be able to do it again. The feeling of change, and the belief that you can, will help you to find happiness in yourself.
I’m with you friends, love you!