I absolutely love working for myself. I’ve done it for more than 8 years and I can’t imagine it being any other way.
One of the upsides of entrepreneurship is being able to build a business around our talent, values and vision. In short, do what we love for a living. One of the downsides is we need to constantly perform and evolve in order to grow and be successful. As a result, entrepreneurs tend to live in the gap between where we are and where we want to be. As soon as we reach our goal, we move the goal posts, creating a gap that constantly needs to be bridged. While I believe that discomfort is something all entrepreneurs have to get comfortable with, I don’t believe that constantly striving to bridge that gap is fun or sustainable.
So when I came across a fascinating Ted Talk about happiness and success, I had to share it with you. Researchers found that most people operate under the following assumption: If I work harder, I will be more successful. When I am more successful, I will be happier.
But here’s the kicker: our brains actually work in the opposite order. When we raise our positivity in the present, our brain experiences the ‘happy advantage’ and our intelligence, creativity, productivity and resilience increase. In short, get happy and everything you want will follow.
So, what can we do to nurture that ‘happy advantage’? Here are a few proven strategies:
1) Keep a gratitude journal
A research study by Emmons & McCullough found that participants who kept a weekly gratitude journal were more optimistic about their upcoming week, and life in general, exercised more, and got sick less. Simply list 5 things you’re grateful for and watch your mind miraculously shift towards the positive.
As you may have gathered from my last newsletter, I believe that exercise (along with dark chocolate and red wine) is good for just about anything that ails you. It doesn’t matter if you’re putting on running shoes or dancing shoes, get moving and get happy.
3) Acts of kindness
Studies show that performing random acts of kindness works wonders for your happiness levels. Apparently the magic number is five acts a week. Do them all in one day, or spread them out, it’s your call.
I have a constant of things running in my head at all times, so I really need to practice what I preach here. If you don’t have a meditation practice, try a guided meditation like this one. In a few short minutes you’ll feel more present, happier and more aligned.
Even if there were no other benefits to being happy, wouldn’t it be worth going after with everything you’ve got? I think so.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you actively cultivate happiness? Have you noticed a correlation between your business and mood? Do you have any tips to share? I’d love to hear from you.
Here’s to your happiness!