How you perceive your world and look at opportunities is much more influenced by your mindset than by your circumstances. External events will influence your happiness in the moment, but after a short time you will bounce back to your ‘natural’ level.
The good news is that we can train our mental frameworks and over time change our perspective on the things we encounter in daily life. We can make ourselves happier and more positive human beings. And by making ourselves more positive we will encounter more encouraging situations and as a result follow more fulfilling opportunities.
Worst day of my life
Every night at the dinner table we do a little round robin where everyone talks about the experiences of the day. It took our kids a while to get there, but now they love it and can’t wait to tell their story.
For a while our 7 year old son had phase where he always started with “worst day of my life”. For some reason he thought it was cool, but we could see how it always dragged him down emotionally.
We can observe the same in us. As grownups we often look back at how hard a day was, all the things that went wrong, all the annoying interactions.
With that we train our brain to pattern match. If we pay attention to something, our brain will look for more of the same and proudly present it to us. When you think about buying a new car, you will all of a sudden see that model everywhere.
Indulging on the things that were bad or went wrong will train your brain to only see things going wrong. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Change your mental frameworks
Instead of thinking back to what went wrong in your day, spend time every day to reflect on what was great, fun or just positively memorable. You can do this throughout the day or in the evening before you go to bed. But do it every day!
Reflect on the positive things that happened every day. Write them down.
Focusing on the positive things will train your brain to pattern match for those. It will help you see the good more easily and more often. It will help you see opportunity to get more of those positive interactions. It will make you happier and more successful.
I bought a little notebook for myself in which I write down 3 positive things that happened to me every day. It’s a great exercise to reflect and boosts your happiness.
We also changed our dinner routine and added the question “What were your 3 most positive things today?” Question before we get into talking about our days. Our kids are fighting for who can share those first and usually end up with more than 3.
I also haven’t heard the “worst day of my life” sentence anymore.
Being happy is in your control. So is being unhappy. You decide.
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