“It is not if the glass is half full, remember that it is refillable!”
Having read The Happiness Equation in May, I was thrilled to hear Neil Pasricha speak at the fabulous Art of Leadership Conference, in Toronto last week. The audience was rapt with attention, absorbing his insight and taking notes. The line up for his book signing was robust and he took his time, chatting with readers, adding pictures to his signature and stamping books.
His official bio, that was in the conference package, identifies that “he is one of the most popular TED speakers in the world” who “dazzles audiences with ideas and frameworks that skyrocket happiness into the stratosphere”. He is known as one of the world’s most sought after speakers and his first book, The Book of Awesome is an international bestseller.
Neil shared that he was not happy – he was struggling, was going through a divorce and dealing with the loss of a friend by suicide. He jumped into the study of positive psychology and from 2008 to 2012 blogged about awesome things for 1000 days start which led to the Book of Awesome. His most recent book, The Happiness Equation, was like writing a roadmap for his unborn son.
In the Happiness Equation, Pasricha details 9 secrets to happiness (which can be read in my review of this book). Based on time restraints, he highlighted 3 of these secrets including:
Secret # 1: Be Happy First – instead seeking happiness after finding great work and success to flip this around, be happy first which will lead to great work and success. He shared that happy people are more likley to be promoted, live 10 years longer (based on a nun’s study). Living 10 years longer might give you 3000 more days!
He also shared The Big 5 Suggestions to being happy first:
- 3 Brisk Nature Walks a Week – he shared that these walks outperform antidepressants.
- 20 Minute Replay – this was related to the importance of journalling and laughed that his Journal of Awesome, a book with NO words in it, has outsold his other books! Journals work because individuals experience it, write about it and read it – a triple effect on happiness!
- 5 Conscious Acts of Kindness – doing acts of kindness for others helps us feel good about ourselves for the rest of the day. A colleague had her Tim Horton’s breakfast paid for by someone ahead of her in the drive thru this week, what a great way to start her day!
- Meditation – he recommends meditation as an activity we should all participate in to “zoom out” and recommended reading 10% Happier (this book was a book club pick for me in 2015 which led us to try group meditation afterwards) or Calm.com (paid app)
- 5 Gratitudes of the Week – he suggested talking about “good things” at dinner. I appreciated this suggestion as we try do to talk about our 3 best things at the dinner table – we certainly could be more consistent in this practice!
Neil challenged the audience to take a 20 for 20 challenge – committing to one of these 5 suggestions for 20 minutes a day for 20 days, building a new habit. He encouraged the listeners to not only commit to this goal but to tell someone else about it as it will help you towards success.
Secret # 2: Create Space
Neil reminded us that we get an average of 147 emails a day, check our cell phones up to 150 times a day (once every 4 minutes) and make 295 decisions each day. He suggests that we need to automate, regulate, effectuate and debate using tools such as the Waze app so we don’t have to decide the best route, making double dinners so lunch is ready the next day and committing to manage email for only 2 hours a day (setting aside specific hours to manage the inbox).
“Automate – simplify your day”
Secret # 3: Just Do It – “Action Leads to Motivation”
He suggested turning your biggest fears into your biggest success, having a “can do” attitude and shared that he had been afraid of swimming and had never learned as a child. On his second date, his wife asked him if he liked swimming as it was her favourite activity. Without thinking, he just did it and signed up for adult swimming lessons. He quickly realized that he was not alone and that there were “10 other people who sucked at swimming waiting on deck” each week. After 8 weeks, he could swim front crawl and learned an activity in 4 hours that he had been petrified of for his whole life!
“It is easier to act yourself into a new way of thinking than think yourself into a new way of acting”.
I loved meeting Neil Pasricha, he is inspiring, positive and exudes happiness! When he signed my book, he flipped through and commented on the highlighted areas. He shared that he likes to see what impacts his readers as he signed and decorated my copies with his selection of sharpies.
Neil is another author that I would add to my “list” of inspiring authors that I would love to have lunch with!