Anyone can, if they think about it, find good reasons for gratitude.
This hand carved “Gratitude” sign is about 12″ wide, carved from Cherry. The lettering is gilded with 23k gold leaf. The finish is shellac and wax. It was made similar to the previous example … without the ebonizing.
Shawn Achor tells us that we have things backward. That in addition to the very common human bias toward skepticism, we’ve been taught that “If you work hard, you will become successful, and once you become successful, then you’ll be happy.” Success first, happiness later. How’s that working out?
Shawn’s research (positive psychology) and research of many others in the neuroscience field show that we have it backwards. That if we find happiness first, success will follow. Happiness is the precursor to success, not merely the result.
Now, they tell me! … 8 years after retiring from a successful 40 year career in the information technology industry. More than once I’ve been called “a grumpy old man.” Well, half of that is true: I’m old. I had to think about the other half for a while, and ended up agreeing with the sentiment. You see, most of my “career” revolved around fixing things, from repairing broken punched card tabulating machines decades ago, to resolving complex problems in modern software more recently. By default, that work starts off negative. Then, I spent the latter half of my career in the best industrial research facility on the planet, and there the scientific process ruled supreme. Again, an environment that works from negative to positive.
As an aside, the scientific process has two parts: criticism and peer review. Science starts with hypotheticals and suppositions. From there, truth is found by rigorously attempting to disprove the hypothesis. What is not disproven remains the scientific truth until new, rigorously proven, information arrives. By its very nature, the true scientific process actually requires cynicism, and starting with negatives, all in the hope of getting to a true positive. It’s the one area where I reserve the right to remain cynical, skeptical and yes, grumpy. … Because: Science is NOT about consensus. It’s about proofs, and sometimes the best proofs are proving that assumptions and ideas don’t work out as imagined, or that measurement and data gathering processes are flawed. A political belief or a Supreme Court decision is NOT science. Nor, is there such a thing as “settled science.” “Settled” is a term used by lawyers, not scientists.
Last fall, a lot of research about positive thinking, both in the field of positive psychology and in the field of neuroplasty, culminated with a widespread theme “Rewire Your Brain in 21 Days.” That theme popped up on Facebook and other social media in September as a number of articles accumulated into a critical mass. Maybe it was positive neuroplasty week? A lot of articles appeared all at once. Focusing on gratitude is at the center of the research and the advice. The short story: Many of the articles encourage finding three things to be grateful about every day. Try it. Think about the good things that are happening. Be grateful for them. Write them down. The repeated thought processes and the repeated (writing) actions are literally rewiring the way you think. Do good things often enough and think good things often enough and you’ll start to experience more and more good things.
It’s been a lot longer than 21 days since I discovered the theme, and I think I’m making progress. … I’m happier and I’ve changed from mostly fixing broken things to making new things.
- The Happiness Dividend – Shawn Achor
- The Happiness Advantage – Shawn Achor
- The Happy secret to better work – TED talk
- Scientific Proof That Being Thankful Improves Your Health
- 7 Scientifically Proven Benefits Of Gratitude That Will Motivate You To Give Thanks Year-Round
- UPDATE – Added per Antonio’s comment: “The Shift” a film by Wayne dyer. This particular version is the original film in English, but has Spanish subtitles. They’re a bonus for those of us slowly learning Spanish. Watch for the line “El viento se siento bien,” and compare to the English. 🙂
Make Gratitude a habit. Rewire your brain. The Five Minute Journal gives you a delightful tool for building your gratitude habit. It has just the right ingredients for making the habit easy to get started and continue. It’s loaded with amazing advice. Give it a try!