Caring, Philosophizing

5 ways you can train your brain to become more positive, more productive and just plain happier

Have you ever wondered why people with money, power and unlimited opportunity don’t seem happier?

Shawn Achor has studied this question extensively and it turns out that external factors are much less significant than internal factors in determining your overall feeling of happiness.

Problem is, many of us are not in the habit of thinking positively about the either the challenges or opportunities we face in our lives.

Yet, we can train our brains to think more positively and be better at everything we do. And we can be happier as a result.

Here are Shawn’s five suggestions for things you can do in only 21 days to rewire your brain for lasting positive change:

  • Write down 3 things each day for which you are grateful.
  • Journal about one positive experience each day to help your brain relive it.
  • Exercise daily to teach your brain that your behaviour matters, not just what you think or say.
  • Meditate to allow yourself to focus on the task at hand.
  • Do conscious acts of kindness every day to create a habit of looking for positive ways to engage.

These suggestions ring true to me in so many ways.

I am grateful every day for the things I have that are true blessings – and I am not using that word religiously. I feel blessed to live in a peaceful country at a peaceful time. I have access to clean air and water and abundant, healthy food. I have been blessed to be surrounded by people, my family and friends and community, who I love and love me. And there are many, many more blessings I enjoy each day.

I also blog and write for precisely the reasons Shawn Achor suggests. It’s a way of recounting my positive experiences and challenges as a business person (here on this blog) and as a parent (

Shawn has captured something very important here and it merits being repeated: the secret to success is unlearning the myths of happiness that you have grown up with and rewiring your brain to be happier with yourself. It will make everything about your life better.

Watch Shawn’s TEDxBloomington presentation. It’s entertaining and enlightening. The best 12 minutes you’ll spend today, guaranteed.

Credit goes to Russ Thornton for bringing this amazing presentation to my attention. Thanks, Russ!

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  1. Happy to see you write about this, Jay. Shawn seems to be a super interesting guy talking about an important topic and doing so with a lot of style and entertainment value.

    And based on his presentation alone, he seems to be a really happy guy. I’ve watched this presentation several times and always find myself smiling once it’s done. Happiness is infectious.

    Also, thanks for the mention

    1. Agree 100%, Russ. Anyone that can make you smile and motivate you to change something for the better needs to be shared. I’ve shared this widely and gotten lots of good response. Credit where credit is due 😉

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