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Break Free From Your Negative Programming

I am currently reading The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor. Which asks the questions: Are successful people more happy or are happy people more successful? I highly recommend the book.

Principle number 3 is the Tetris Effect. This occurs when people devote sufficient time and attention to an activity that it begins to overshadow their thoughts, mental images and dreams. It got its name from a study done on people playing the video game Tetris. After playing for a prolonged amount of time, they may find themselves thinking about different shapes in the real world and how they can fit together. Everywhere they go they see the shapes. It is what they focus on.

In short, we see what we train our minds to see, and, what we focus on is whats most prevalent in our world. Another analogy he used is this: When you get a new red car all of a sudden everyone seems to be driving a red car.

The same is true with negative and positive outlooks on life. If we focus on the negative, we see the negative. If we focus on the positive, we see the positive. One example Shawn gives of this is when he was in Australia for a lecture. He stepped outside during one of the breaks and over heard two men talking to each other. One man said that it was nice that the sun was out. The other replied that it was too hot. Both men were in the same place, yet one saw the sun as a positive and the other saw it as a negative.

In my line of work there are a lot of time sensitive task and cost associated with the business. The more business, the more task and cost. This can be overwhelming, and If I’m not careful, I can find myself focusing on this as a negative. But more business is a good thing, right? If I didn’t have business, I would really be in a negative mood. It is funny how we can take something positive and turn it into a negative.

So how do we break free from this? We have to train our minds to start thinking positive. Scientist state that it takes 3 positives to erase 1 negative. Shawn recommends that everyday we right down or say out loud at least 3 good things that happened to us over the last 24 hours. Sounds simple. What this does is causes our brains to scan over the last 24 hours and find the positives, which will eventually train our minds to see the positives in everyday life. I just started doing this with my wife at the dinner table. I will let you know how it goes.


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Comment by Robert J Cullen on July 14, 2011 at 12:46pm
Nice Post.... To coin a phrase...The Thoughts I Think Determine the Relationship I Attract...

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