Friday 6 February 2015

The 'How to be Happy' Myth

It turns out my formula for success and happiness is flawed. It's a common one. You might share it. It goes like this:

"If I work harder, I'll be more successful.
Then, if I'm more successful I'll be happier"

The problem is as soon as you reach that moment of success, you change the goal posts. 

When I received my copy of The Temp in the post, I was ecstatic. For one whole hour, I wanted to dance around the flat. But soon enough, the happiness faded, and I started thinking how it didn't mean much unless it was selling. My goal moved to selling the book rather than getting published, and once again, my happiness was over there, in the distance.  

"If happiness is on the opposite side of success, your brain never gets there," says Shawn Achor, in his uplifting and humorous TED talk.  

He goes on to say that our brains function much better when we are positive. Our energy, creativity and intelligence rises. Basically we will be more successful if we are happy now, not in the future!

Enjoy the journey! I'm always telling aspiring authors. It's something I need to constantly remind myself too. Seven years ago I did 350km of the Camino de Santiago. The excitement of arriving at Santiago de Compostela was ridiculously short-lived . The memory of the journey however, will always make me happy.

Shawn Foer says it doesn't take long to rewire and train your brain to work more optimistically and successfully. Here's one way of doing it:

The 21 Day Challenge to Creating Positive Change

3 Gratitudes  - Write down 3 new things you are grateful for each day so your brain starts scanning for the positive rather than the negative.
Journaling - Write down a positive experience every day so your brain relives it.
Exercise -  Exercise will teaches your brain that behaviour matters.
Meditation - Daily meditation will help your brain focus on task at hand.
Random Act of Kindess - Send a positive email to someone every day.

So, Shawn, after I've done all this I'll be happier right?

D'oh! I guess my brain hasn't been rewired quite yet... 


Other Happy Stuff:

1) The Temp is getting lovely reviews like:

"Kept me page-turning past bed time!" - read reviews

2) The paperback is out and it's lovely and shiny

3) The kindle version is only 99p at the moment

Oh, and if you'd liked a signed copy, just click below: 

     Signed Copies of The Temp


Gabs Brown said...

I have just started to send my book to right now I just want one NON rejection letter (then I will be happy) then I want the agent to successfully sell the work to a publisher (then I will be happy) then I want the book to sell (then I will be happy) then I will be able to write the sequel without being too poor (then I will be happy) then I want....I AM NEVER GOING TO BE HAPPY *deletes book and gets a proper job*

Emily Benet said...

Aha! Exactly! But will the proper job make you happy?