key to happiness.

Last Thursday and Friday the organization I belong to at Cerner held their annual kickoff event. This consisted of an afternoon of team building (read: lazer tag, go karts and Whirlyball) at Power Play and an entire day of speakers, recognition and required interactivity. You know, the type of meeting where words such as leverage, perspective, shift and imperative are used liberally. It was exhausting yet fun to do something out of the norm. I really learned a lot about my org mates and what we’re all working on.

But the biggest highlight for me was a video our Chief Learning Officer, Rob Campbell, included in his speech. Rob explained how we spend 33% of our waking hours at work and if 100% of our waking hours are important, then we better make sure we’re happy during that 33%. He showed this TED Talk to reinforce the message. I highly recommend you take twelve minutes to watch it but here are the Cliffs Notes:

The majority of us believe if we work harder we will succeed and once we’re successful, we’ll be happy. However, that model is backwards, broken. Once you work hard enough to get that raise, land the promotion, hit your sales goal, the target is moved. Now you want to reach the next level, make more, sell more. Our brain never thinks we’re successful because it never truly reaches that goal post. As a result we get frustrated, unhappy, and begin to focus solely on the negative.

It doesn’t have to be that way. The best part is that we can reverse the cycle, train our brains to be positive in the moment. Once we learn to be happy with ourselves as we are now, success will follow naturally.

The training plan is simple. Do each of these exercises every day for 21 days to break the cycle:

  • 3 Gratitudes (write down three new things you’re grateful for each day)
  • Journaling (write one positive experience you’ve had over the past 24 hours)
  • Exercise (a 30 minute walk is sufficient)
  • Meditation (sitting for five minutes in silence to clear your mind counts)
  • Random or conscious acts of kindness (send a positive email or note to someone each day to strengthen your social network)

After 21 days, thinking positively will become a habit. It will also cause a ripple effect that positively influences those around you.

I’m on day four of this practice. I’m excited not only to experience a shift in my mental state but also to have a list of great experiences to look back on in a month. My husband watched the video last night and started his journal as well. Care to join us?


About sarahkscoular

Sarah K. Scoular (@sarahkscoular on twitter) has 15 years customer service experience including face to face, over the phone and via digital interactions. Sarah is currently Enterprise Community Manager for uCern, the enterprise 2.0 social platform where Cerner Associates and Clients connect and collaborate. She ensures the 100,000+ member network is connecting people with others in similar roles or special interest groups, sharing information and finding answers to the questions they're looking for. Sarah helps others who are helping to revolutionize Health Care. Outside of work, Sarah is the wife of a graphic designer/laser engraver and the mother of seven-year-old Madeleine. She loves to cook clean, plant-strong foods and is a certified yoga and Les Mills BODYFLOW instructor.
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4 Responses to key to happiness.

  1. Becky says:

    I tried the journaling/gratitudes idea last year after reading The Happiness Project, I loved doing it, but had an amazingly difficult time getting into the habit of doing it every day. It’s definitely something that I’ve considered starting up again. The Happiness Project, btw, is a great read.

    • I’ll have to check that out Becky, thanks! So far I’ve done the journaling and meditation right before bed, seems to be working so far. If nothing else I’m really looking forward to reading back on all my positive experiences!

  2. Megan H says:

    Sarah, I love this post – its inspiring and hopeful, which are always in short supply on Mondays. 😉 One thing that I try to do every morning – something maybe from – is to journal the way I want to feel at the end of the day. Its amazing how putting those hopes into writing really does effect the way I handle things that come up during the course of a day. The Happiness Project, by the way, is sitting on my desk right now; I’ve yet to crack the cover, but am looking forward to it!

    • Thank you Megan! It was just too good not to share. I follow zenhabits on twitter (love him) and another friend suggested the Happiness Project. Glad I’m on the right track!

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