The same old same old, day in and day out, gets tedious, not just boring. It lulls us into a stupor. It reinforces (hardens) our thinking patterns. The same old same old dulls our senses and causes us to miss the beauty that surrounds us every single day.
No!! Not Advanced Statistical Analysis![dropcap]Y[/dropcap]ears ago, when I was studying advanced statistical analysis from Professor Klaus Witz at the U of I, one of the most brilliant men I have ever been privileged to study under, he constantly referred to statistics as the study of averages, a game of averages, the average of the averages. He harped on the fact that those who were the outliers, those people who did not fall within the mean, were the most interesting people and worthy of study, not particularly the average.
I always thought that idea was interesting: the outliers are the creatives. The outliers tend to be the people who transcend any given moment, who see the connections between the dots that the rest of us often miss. They are the profits, the performers, the trail blazers, the sharers.
Shawn Achor’s TEDx Talk
I recently stumbled upon* this TEDx talk by Shawn Achor: The Happiness Advantage
This talk is must-see for all educators! (We all tend to teach and manage to the middle, the average.) His speaking style is fast paced, humorous, powerful, and pointed.
His brief talk isn’t just a feel good, puff piece, and I’m doing him a great disservice by overly simplifying his 18 minute talk into the following summary. (You really need to listen to his talk. It’s just superb!)
One of his key points: instead of teaching or living or working or motivating to the average, teach, work, live, and motivate from a place of happiness. Doing so will transform your life, the lives you touch, and make your life experience more powerful and more meaningful.
To begin to retrain your thinking patterns to perceive the world from a state of happiness, he suggests these routines:
- Write down three new things you are grateful for each day. Research shows this will significantly improve your optimism even 6 months later, and raises your success rates significantly.
- Write for 2 minutes a day describing one positive experience you had over the past 24 hours. This is a strategy to help transform you from a task-based thinker, to a meaning based thinker who scans the world for meaning instead of endless to-dos. This dramatically increases work happiness.
- Exercise for 10 minutes a day. This trains your brain to believe your behavior matters, which causes a cascade of success throughout the rest of the day.
- Meditate for 2 minutes, focusing on your breath going in and out. This will help you undo the negative effects of multitasking. Research shows you get multiple tasks done faster if you do them one at a time. It also decreases stress and raises happiness.
- Write one, quick email first thing in the morning thanking or praising a member on your team. This significantly increases your feeling of social support, which in my study at Harvard was the largest predictor of happiness for the students.
End the same old same old by celebrating the outliers, being an outlier when necessary, and reconditioning our minds to live from a place of happiness and beauty.[hr]
* Hat tip to Bill!
- The cult of average (johndcook.com)