This month I've been reading Shawn Achor‘s second book, Before Happiness, and HOLY COW. I can not get over how very applicable it all is to what we do here, in exploring and crafting a business (and life) we actually love. I took copious notes all through reading it and wanted to share just a few with you. (I highly recommend reading the book for yourself!)
Here are a few of my thoughts as I read:
1. This book isn't so much about Happiness, as it is about having the life (and business) you really want, by paying attention to how you perceive the world around you. As a positive psychologist researcher (“positive psychology” is the branch of psychology that studies successful people as opposed to other areas of psychology which study the ways we can be unwell), Anchor is reporting on experiments (both his own and others') on how perception shapes reality.
2. When we talk about perception vs. reality it sounds a little woo-woo (but the science shows it's a measurable fact!), so you can think of it like this: In the middle of winter, after days and days of sub-freezing weather, a sunny day in the mid-50s causes you to exclaim that it is SUCH a nice, warm day! But a sunny in the mid-50s during the heat of the summer, will having you commenting on how cold it is. This is an example of how your perception changes the reality. The same temperature warms you up or has you shivering. The temperature (reality) is the same, but the perception of the temperature changes.
This same perception/reality thing comes into play in your business: Is a month with a $1000 in sales a “good” month or a “slow” month? Neither answer is objectively right or wrong, it depends on your situation.
So this book is about that, and about whether you are choosing a positive (and true) reality or a negative reality (which might also be true, but closes you to finding more opportunities and paths to success).
3. I love reading about studies about this, because it reflects exactly what I hear from YOU. Many of you have amazingly brilliant ideas and you did have lots of enthusiasm…until you started to focus on the competition, on all the hard work, and how very many things could go wrong. The enthusiasm and energy drains out of you, until you can't see any of the opportunities in front of you, and you can't spot any path that would lead you to success.
I was delighted to read that it's not just you, it's how our brains our wired (watch out for danger, in order to stay alive!). But I'm even more delighted to have learned ways of getting around the Inner Eyeore, to help you find the light + enthusiasm again.
4. As I suspected based on experience, celebrating successes (and being reminded of them) really is a proven path to success. Yay!
5. Your map needs to be centered around your very own meaning markers (Yep, Shawn uses the same language I've used in the Map Making Guide). It's not enough to just set goals or have dreams – they need to be centered on what really matters to you, and how you are going to most enjoy getting there. I talk more about this in this video+ I'm editing the Chart The Stars guide (available only to Starship + Solo Mission captains) to not just discover what matters to you, but to remember it over and over during your normal everyday planning.
6. I could very easily list every point in the book that lines up perfectly to what we already do inside the Starship + Solo Missions. (In fact, I started a big list for myself.) But I think it's sufficient to point out that all this science and knowledge is useless unless you apply it to your business – not just once when you read it, but again and again as you reassess and reorient as you move forward (which, by the way, is one of the best ways to make sure you end up where you want to be).
In order to make it truly useful, I've baked the book's “success accelerants” right into the experience of being on a Solo Mission or in the Starship. You don't just learn about them, you'll act on them, simply by opening the emails and filling out the worksheets.
My goal is to make your success, towards your very own dreams, completely unavoidable.
For more thoughts on books, check out the discussion around the New Domesticity.