General wisdom tells us if we work harder, we’ll achieve greater success, and then we’ll be happy. But when we set goal posts for success, those goal posts move as soon as we reach them, so if this is how we determine happiness, we’re constantly chasing it and will never reach it.
Our brains don’t work this way. Distinguished Harvard University professor and author of The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor, writes, “New research in psychology and neuroscience shows that … we become more successful when we are happier and more positive.” The source of happiness truly is within us. 90% of our long-term happiness is predicted by the way our brain processes the world, meaning only 10% is determined by our external world.
Though as a society, we live as though it were the opposite.
Raising your level of positivity in the present allows your brain to experience what Achor calls The Happiness Advantage, which is the brain-positive state that performs significantly better than a brain-negative or brain-neutral state. With a positive mindset, intelligence, creativity, and energy levels rise. A positive brain is 31% more productive, meaning business outcomes improve.
25% of job successes are predicted by IQ, whereas 75% of job successes are determined by optimism levels, social support, and ability to see stress as a challenge instead of as a threat. If we can change our formula for happiness and success then we can change our reality. So how do we learn to reach this brain-positive state, to reach happiness? Meditation.
It only takes two minutes for twenty-one days in a row to rewire your brain, allowing you to live more optimistically and successfully.
Achor’s research recommends meditation as one of the tools that creates lasting positive change, because it allows your brain to retain a pattern for positivity, and to get over the cultural conditioning to multi-task and focus on the task at hand. Meditation is proven to rewire your brain, increasing your ability to learn, which translates into a positive mindset that allows you to find happiness and contentment in the present moment, regardless of what is going on in your life or going on around you.