Today I speak in depth about one of my favorite topics, HAPPINESS. But not just happiness, the science of happiness. I am joined by a very special guest, Scott Crabtree. Scott is the founder of and Chief Happiness Officer at Happy Brain Science. Scott empowers individuals and organizations to apply findings from cutting-edge neuroscience and psychology to boost productivity and happiness at work. When I first heard of Scott, I knew we spoke the exact same language, and I was not wrong.
In our chat, we take a deeper look at what it means to actually thrive instead of just being happy, and as Scott puts it, it does come down to a science. We also break down the 5 areas of well-being, which also happens to be the basis for the goals in my Best Planner Ever. Scott also shares how he got into this work by sharing his experiences working at Intel as an executive for many years and what drove him to switch career paths and devote himself to the science of happiness. As he puts it “if you really want to learn something, you should teach it,” and so his journey on this path begun.
This episode is jam-packed with value, and I promise, you will not want the episode to stop (I sure didn’t!). Other topics we cover include the choices we make that either contribute to our happiness or distance us from it, reframing stress as a useful source, the importance of a positive attitude, finding flow, the power of coaching, and so much more. So join me and Scott in this incredibly powerful episode!
WHAT YOU WILL DISCOVER
The difference between being happy and thriving
The 5 areas of well-being
The 4 themes in Scott’s Science of Happiness session
The incomparable value of coaching
FEATURED ON THE SHOW
All right. Hello hello. Welcome to the Happy Productive podcast. I’m Jennifer Dawn, a business coach and founder of the Best Planner Ever. You want to win in business in life? Whoo, you are in the right place. The Happy Productive podcast is your go to resource for success on a whole new happy level.
Today I’m so excited for our guests we’re going to be talking with Scott Crabtree. Scott helps people apply science to thrive at work. I absolutely love this. After earning a degree in cognitive science from Vassar College, he went on to lead the design and development of video games and other software. Another software geek like me, whoo hoo, I love this. He discovered the science of thriving in 2003 and immediately became a passionate student and teacher of that research. He resigned his senior leadership position at Intel in 2011 to found Happy Brain Science. Welcome so much to the podcast Scott.
I am definitely in the right place Jennifer. Thanks for having me. Happy and productive, right up our alley is right.
Right, exactly. It is right up our alley. And you already know this, like the science behind being happy first, before you’re going out into the world to try and achieve these things. And I would love to talk to you about this because this is right up our alley. And so tell us more. Let’s start with a little bit more about the science of thriving, I want to hear about this.
So, I use the term the science of thriving because it’s a bit more than happiness. Happiness is what I got excited about when I was introduced to positive psychology and other Brain Sciences. But since diving in and teaching this full time for about a decade now, there’s more to it than happiness, right? So first of all, happiness is a fuzzy term. So, scientists like to use subjective well-being which long, nerdy mouthful is positive emotions, but it’s also a sense of meaning and satisfaction with life.
So, you may be thriving and not be very happy in certain moments. I mean, it’s you and I are talking in early 2021. It’s been a rough year for a lot of people and has not been a happy time for a lot of us. And so, some of the science I study and teach is about how we cope with difficult times, or how we can bring our best despite the world being really challenging, or us being miserable at a particular point in time. So, it’s Science of Happiness. Plus, when I say science of thriving at work, if there’s peer reviewed experimental data about how we can get great stuff from our brain at work, I’m interested in it, learning it, teaching it and helping people apply it.
That is so fascinating. And just knowing the difference between happy and thriving. And so would you mind just sharing a couple of examples of, you know, when we talk about thriving, like, what really is thriving, like how would you. And here’s what I’m coming, I’m going to come back to so there’s a great book, and I actually use this as the basis for the goals in my planner, my Best Planner Ever, and it was the five areas of wellbeing and it’s a book called Wellbeing by Tom Rath.
And over this gallup study that they did a huge gallup study where they define, you know, the five areas of wellbeing, and it was really shocking to me what percent of the population is not thriving in the five areas. Most people are thriving in one, maybe two, but very, very small amount of the population is thriving and all five and I’d love to hear your thoughts on that.
Yeah, exactly. So, I know that book, but I’m struggling to remember if they use the exact same 5 that Martin Seligman does in his books, but he uses Perma positive emotions, engagement, meaning relationships and accomplishment. There’s more than that, right? There’s a quote I love from statistician, George Box. He says “all models are flawed, some models are useful.” Which means anytime you make an acronym or an abstraction of reality, it’s going to be imperfect, right?
So, is there more than Perma? Yeah, there’s physical health, for example. But if you look at positive emotions, engagement, meaning, relationships, and accomplishment, Boy, that’s a great five to take care of. And as you said, Jennifer, it’s way too easy for us not to be thriving in one of those areas, we might have lots of positive emotion but not be getting much done. Or we might have great relationships, but not be very engaged at work.
So, I’m assuming as a coach, you’re very familiar with the wheel of life which takes various flavors, right? But sometimes our clients need an examination of all the aspects of life because if you’re really engaged at work, and just doing great work, but your family and life is falling apart, as you know, as you know, all too well from your experience. You’re like a bike wheel with three good spokes and two half broken ones. And it’s a bumpy ride that isn’t much fun for us. So, there’s a lot to take care of, if we want to really thrive in life.
I agree completely. And it is, you know, when you are thriving in one area, but not in those others. Those are great, those five areas you mentioned are so wonderful. In the wellbeing book, the five areas are given back like volunteer work, community, being part of the community. Money is one of the five relationships love social interaction, our professional career, and I think it’s our physical health. Like those are the five areas of wellbeing and I found throughout my life, sometimes it is easy to thrive in one or two, but not in all of them. And so, I’d love to hear how you apply science to this, like how do you use science to help people go from only being, you know, thriving in one or two areas to thriving in four or five areas?
Yeah, so I was at Intel when I discovered the Science of Happiness. And the former CEO of Intel, Andy Grove had a quote that we often repeated in the meetings and hallways of Intel. That was, “everyone has an opinion, some people have data.” So, I was studying the Science of Happiness without the slightest idea that I would do this for a career. I studied it because I came across a couple of books, one “Stumbling on Happiness” by Harvard professor Daniel Gilbert, the detailed how bad we are at predicting, predicting what’s going to make us happy.
So, let’s take money as a brief example. Yes, money is part of wellbeing and it’s good to have money, it’s essentially saved up time, we can do whatever we want with, right. But it doesn’t make that much difference in our actual happiness, once our basic needs are met. And we’re all too good at thinking I need more money I need more, more, more, more, more, more, more and more money and more money, and then I’m going to be happy. And it just doesn’t make that much difference. So, we’re, we’re pretty bad at predicting what’s going to actually make us happy, which is why we need some help from peer reviewed science and not just our own gut feelings, right. So, I read that book.
And then I read an amazing book called “The How of Happiness” by University of California Professor Sonia Liber Mirsky. And that was my first real thorough introduction of the fact that all kinds of experiments have been done that show that, look, happiness is not completely in our control. There are some genetic factors, there are some circumstantial factors, but a lot of our happiness is coming from what’s going on between our ears. And there are choices we can make, that will lead to more or less happiness.
So, I finished The How of Happiness. And I felt like this is the most amazing thing I’ve come across in my life. I mean, I was not very happy at Intel, to be completely candid with you and your listeners. And so, I read this, and I was like, wait a minute, I can make choices that will make me happier. And if we, if I do that, my brain will work better, I’ll be more successful, engage resilient, creative, healthier, live longer, and all kinds of other benefits. Shown by the data? Sign me up, I want to do this be this and experience all these benefits.
And about four seconds later, I thought, you’re not going to do that Scott. You’re going to forget 98% of this in six months, that way we forget 98% of most things in six months. How can I not forget this, and I happened to be the kid of two teachers? So, I thought if you really want to learn something, you should teach it. So, I started teaching it in Intel, where everyone has an opinion, but some people have data. So, I developed a program called The Science of Being Happy and Productive at Work. I came to the right podcast, right. And, and I had to ground it in science for my software, engineering peers to buy it and apply it.
Wow, that is so fantastic. And so, one of the things that you said you had said many great things, but one of the things you said was that there were things that you can do to build happiness into your day. And so, do you mind going a little deeper there? Like what are some of the things like if you’re struggling with just being happy where you’re at, and I work with a lot of people who are like, you know. They like what you said, with the money where they they’re attaching their happiness to a goal. I need more money, if I get more money, then I’ll be happy, which you’re giving your power away, you’re putting all that on the money. And now the money has lost control of whether or not you’re happy. Of course, you’re not going to be happy, you’ve got to take that power back.
And so, I’d love for you to share some ways that people cannot attach their happiness to certain material possessions or things that they you know, think are going to bring them happiness, but be happy now in the place where you’re at where you’re at now and then use your goals to evolve to grow. And so, I would love to hear some ways of how can you actually be happy today, right now today.
So I’m delighted to answer that. Keep in mind, Jennifer, I’m a professional speaker. I basically talk for a living and my Science of Happiness session is four hours long. So you interrupt me, I will try to keep this very short and focused, but you feel free to interrupt me anytime.
First of all, some basics. We’re not talking about constant bliss all the time. Those who strive to be just constantly happy all the time, it’s a fool’s errand, unrealistic, right? 2020, etc, have proven that to us. Sometimes life deals us hard, hard stuff. And unpleasant emotions are normal, natural, healthy and helpful. So this is not about eliminating negative emotions. Some other quick basics. Self care matters, sleep matters, fruits and vegetables matter, etc.
Now, beyond those basics, I have four themes in my Science of Happiness session, and I will very briefly touch on what’s in those. So the first one I call subdue stress. We think of stress as a bad unhelpful thing, but it can be a useful source of energy. So reframing stress as a useful source of energy is a good start. And then the science is clear. How we cope is critical. A big difference between high stress and low happiness people and lower stress player happiness people is how we cope with the inevitable hardships that come up, come at us in life.
So we don’t have time to cover everything, but three of the very best are talking with someone the way you and I are now, getting some physical exercise or meditating, practicing some mindfulness, cope effectively subdue stress, and that’s a good category of things to do.
Second category might sound cheesy or corny, but it’s positive attitude. And I tell my audiences, like shields up if you’re bothered by corny, cheesy sounding stuff, because here comes some corny, cheesy sounding stuff. So why would I include cliche sounding stuff, because we think a lot of things are gonna make us happy. If you watch television for an afternoon, you might leave thinking that certain sports cars and perfumes are gonna make you happy. And the reality is, that’s just garbage.
But the stuff you’ve heard about positive attitude really works according to the data. not always possible. Not all of this is for everyone, everyone is different. But if you can find a way to look on the bright side, look forward to something better, see the best in each other, you will be happier if you can adopt that positive attitude. So I call that practice positivity. Here’s a very specific concrete way that might be relevant to your audience and clients. Write down your best possible future for let’s say, three years from now at work. That exercise has been shown in peer reviewed studies to boost optimism, which boosts happiness, which boost brain function and makes that best possible future more likely to come true.
Theme three is flow to goals. So flow is that delightful zone where everything is clicking for you. And we get there about 20 minutes after focusing completely squirrel focusing completely emails focusing completely phone, it’s so hard to focus right now. But if we can focus completely, on something challenging, but possible, for 20 minutes or more, we find ourselves immersed in the work.
And flow has been shown to be a wonderful experience for decades, it’s been shown to be specifically helpful with the pandemic and the tough times we’re going through. There are lots of ways to escape the tough times were going through some of them are not so healthy for us or helpful to us in the long run. And flow getting completely immersed in your business plan, or your dinner with your kids or whatever it is that’s challenging you is a productive, healthy way to escape.
So flow to goals, progress towards clear and meaningful goals. We’re very goal oriented in the West in the US, and that’s great. But you hit a goal once you can make progress towards a goal every single day. So flow towards your goals and minimize multitasking, which in a nutshell, makes you stupid and miserable.
And that’s leaves us with the fourth and final and most important theme: relationships. Again, everybody is different somebody listening to this might be different than you or I but for most of us most of the time according to the data, it is the quality of our relationships with other people that make the biggest difference and our well being therefore happiness, productivity, success.
I love that so many amazing points in there and the relationships really do matter and touching back on one of the things you mentioned about coaching and working. You have the relationships and the coaching. So as a coach and you know this, you end up having these amazing relationships with people you end up being that safe space and I always have a coach because I love that space. And then being a coach, I get to hold that space for my clients.
And this really, at least for last year with Corona, when Corona hit, and in the beginning when it hit and there were so many business owners affected. And I had clients on the phone who were normally these happy, positive, upbeat people who were in tears and sobbing because they thought, oh my gosh, you know, I’m going to lose my whole company, I’m going to lose these things that I’ve worked for, for years and years and years. I’m happy to say they didn’t.
But it came down to like, it was not a good situation. Nobody was happy. It was like, Oh, my God, this is really bad. But because of those relationships, we were able to dig in, we were able to say, alright, you know, how are we going to look at this? How are we going to change our perspective? How are we going to look at this for opportunities, and I had to dig in with my clients too, because even my business suffered, because coaching in many realms is a bit of a luxury item to have.
And when your revenues are like gone, you’re like, okay, I can’t have these luxury items. And for many of my clients, I gifted them, you know, three months of coaching through the pandemic, as we got through it. And I’m happy to say I didn’t lose any of them, they and when I say I didn’t lose them. I mean, none of them went out of business, none of them experienced what they were afraid of in the beginning. And they all dug in and and they created new products, and they were innovative. And yeah, there were still some tears as we went through it. But most of my clients actually had record years. And because of the work they did, the mindset that they did, how they thought about things, and but they needed that help, they needed that support.
And so that’s why I think it’s so important to have those relationships be around people who can help change your perspective. Because when you’re around all the Debbie downers, and the shit hits the fan, it’s like, they’re like jumping on that train. Like, you’re right. It’s so horrible. Let’s just get on this train. And like, no, you’ve got to be around people who can help you change that perspective, see the opportunity? I think those relationships are just so key.
Absolutely. The science shows that mood and behaviors are literally contagious. You’re more likely to smoke, if you hang out with people who smoke, you’re more likely to eat donuts, if you hang out with people who eat donuts. One of the best indicators that you’re going to quit an organization is that you sit next to somebody who gives very low scores on organizational surveys. So the survey comes around, says, I believe we are compensated and treated fairly in this organization, the person next to you is like no, and I believe good ideas are acted on and this organism, no, I’m proud to work for this organism. Now, you’re likely to quit if you sit next to t hat person, because our beliefs and our behaviors are contagious.
It’s one of the many reasons I advise people to get a coach. And when they talk to me about coaching with me or one of my colleagues, I say, look, it doesn’t have to be me. It doesn’t have to be my colleague. And I know you’re an amazing coach. But it doesn’t have to be either. But get a coach out there. If you’re listening to this, all the world’s greatest performers have coaches, I have a coach because it’s so helpful and so meaningful.
What I tell my clients is, it’s the only time I’m aware of in life with the possible exception of therapy (and coaching is not mental health counseling, let’s be clear about that). But it’s the only time in life where you have someone completely paying attention to you completely listening and supporting you and helping you reach your goals without any vested interest in what’s going on.
I mean, I love my wife dearly. She loves me dearly. But when she’s listening to me talk about the business, she has her own vested interest, right, like our livelihood depends on what I do. So, it’s the only time in life when you have someone just completely focused on you, without a vested interest except to help you. So I can’t recommend coaching any more highly. And for me, I send out a status report every week that’s designed to nourish happiness. So the first entry is most meaningful thing I did this week, almost every single week. It’s coaching.
Oh, I love that, you know, coaching as profession, it is amazing. I mean, it’s just I love the work. And I love the fact that when I’m going to coach my clients, I’m not a hypocrite, I will take my own advice. And so I love that because it’s like, Jennifer, you cannot tell people to do these things that you’re not willing to do for yourself. So I always love that like check and balance.
But especially as a business owner, if you’re in a relationship with your partner, and they’re not a business owner, or you don’t have a lot of friends who are business owners, it can be a pretty lonely road because other people they don’t get it. They don’t understand that entrepreneurial journey.
And so I find that’s one of the beautiful things like me and my husband are out on a walk and I started going on about the business like after about 10 minutes, his eyes are going to kind of glaze over. And he’s good just because he knows he’s like, I know you just need me to listen. It’s like, okay, because I can talk and figure it out. But the beautiful thing that when you’re in that a coaching space, they get it and they get you. And it’s just a great space to be like I’m talking about my business and their eyes are not glazing over. It’s a really wonderful thing.
Yeah, number one happiness tip for anyone listening is invest in relationships. And if you don’t have someone you can turn to or even if you do a coach is a wonderful investment in relationships, happiness and success.
Absolutely. I want to touch on too, if you have invested in a coach before and it wasn’t a good experience, I have clients who come to me and didn’t have good coaching experiences. And I had invested heavily with a coach. And it was one of the worst experiences of my life. Like, she just made me cry on the calls. And I mean, she was so shaming and I was just like, are you kidding me with this.
However, you know, mindset I, I learned so much from her about what not to be in my own coaching. So I’m very grateful for that experience, because I was like, Oh my gosh, never do this to your client. But I also want to say like, if you’re in a coaching relationship, or if you had a bad experience, don’t let that stop you. Like, there are amazing people out there, you just have to kind of find that right fit, but don’t like, don’t like throw it out the window if you had a bad experience.
It’s all about rapport. And that’s not my opinion. Again, I try to give as little of my own opinion as possible, and as much information grounded in science as possible. So there was a study done. And I want to be very transparent here. I can’t actually remember it was many years ago when I read this study if this was a study of therapy, or coaching, but it was a study of different approaches, right? There’s this holistic approach, or this life balance approach, or this approach or that approach. And they were looking for which technique was the most successful, and then what they found is the technique doesn’t matter. What matters is the rapport with the coach.
But like you, I mean, I had a really bad therapy experience, the first therapy I tried, and I almost gave up on it, you know, and somehow, we know there are good and bad car mechanics in the world. We know there are good and bad books in the world. But too many people try one coaching appointment. They’re like, yeah, that didn’t work for me, I’m done. It’s like, well, there are good and bad coaches in the world do. And again, you know, I like to think I’m a pretty good coach, I have a lot of clients who renew for years, but I’m not the right fit for everybody, you know, somebody might be better off in your hands or in my colleague’s hands. And so, you know, what I recommend people is interview three coaches, and go with whoever you have the best rapport with.
I love that great, great advice. And, and I also want to touch on something else that you had said that, you know, it does come down to your thinking, right, you said happiness is between the ears. And if you have a good or a bad experience, and you’re thinking about that, that’s going to change your perspective on it. And even like with Corona and these difficult things that life is going to hand you, how you look at that is going to make such a huge difference in your level of happiness. I can laugh because I had this horrible experience with a coach. But the way that I got through it was I had to pull the good out of it.
I had to say, wait a second, what did I learn about myself? What did I learn about coaching? How am I going to use this now to actually help other people and that’s really where I got, like, happiness back. I’m like, okay, wait a second, I can live with that. And so you’re the Science Guy, I would love to hear your thoughts on, you know, when life has presented you with something really challenging, like Corona, maybe your business has changed? What are some ways that you would suggest that we like flip our mindset so that we can step back into happiness? If we’ve got something that’s really derailed us or really pulling us down?
Yeah, it’s so important mindset. Mindset matters so much. And and I want to acknowledge it’s not easy, right? You don’t all you can always just flip a switch and be like, this is gonna be great. There’s a massive pandemic and 500,000 people have died. I mean, you know, life can be really hard and part of it is not trying to suppress those negative emotions. So, one technique that scientists recommend is to accurately label and then reappraise. So we don’t want to, we don’t want to suppress like, everything’s behind. I’m not stressed at all. Everything’s fine. Remain calm. Like that doesn’t work, right.
But also, we don’t want to wallow, right. The opposite out of this, like, oh, I’m so stressed out. It’s been so hard for so long. I think I’m gonna write six paragraphs about how miserable. We don’t want to wallow either, right? So we’re trying to accurately label. It’s fascinating the part of the brain that comes up with language is different than the part of your brain that does the feeling. So psychologists and scientists say “name it to tame it” because just accurately labeling and try to get beyond mad, sad or afraid if you can, if you’re really frustrated, disappointed, disengaged. There’s hundreds of words for human emotion, try to get as accurate as you can label it, then start to try to reappraise things.
What is the upside, there’s an upside to almost anything? I mean, let’s take something as horrible as COVID. Right. COVID was horrible for the world. And yet, I took a goal in 2020, for my company, Happy Brain Science to have net zero carbon emissions. Well, guess what, that got a lot easier in March when I stopped flying. And I was blessed with clients, ironically, Boeing right after mentioning flying, who was like, hey, you’ve been doing virtual sessions for a while, can you do these six series with us, I was like, Yay. My business was fine. I wasn’t flying. And that’s a good thing that came out of COVID.
Now, I’m not arguing that people should just be like, Yay, pandemic. But there are ways to find the good in almost anything if you really try. But it is a choice, it is an effort. And that is the fundamental message. If you had to boil my whole career, all the Science of Happiness down to two words. Fortunately, we don’t drag me out of a job. But if we did, it would be “choose happiness”, it is much more of a choice than we think it is. We are active players here, make a choice.
I love this, you and I are on the same page. Because I often said this, like happiness is a choice. And I have had people in my life shame me in the sense of like, oh, you’re just happy go lucky, you’re not really paying attention. You’ve got your head in the clouds, which is so not true at all. If you’ve ever anybody who’s listening, if you’ve ever experienced this, that sometimes people will literally be like, what’s wrong with you? Because you’re happy.
And happiness is absolutely a choice. And it’s a powerful choice. But it’s a choice that takes work. It really does take work because life still hands happy people crap to deal with. And we just, we just turn it around and use it for our benefit. But it’s like a skill. It’s like a muscle you lift weights to make your muscles stronger. And it’s no different. It’s a mind skill that you have to practice over and over to get good at.
That’s exactly right. And it reminds me of one other thing I wanted to say in response to your good last question here. How can you shift your mindset? How can you be resilient, when tough times come? The science of resilience and the science of happiness are not exactly the same thing, but there’s a huge overlap between them. So one of the things that science has found is, the happier you are, the more resilient you are. So this may be a bit late for people who have had a tough year. But the more you can work on being happy, choose to be happy, get the exercise, reach out to a friend, don’t just watch TV all the time, eat some fruits and vegetables, focus on something meaningful, all the things you can do to choose more happiness. It’s almost like a mind insurance policy against tough times.
I mean, look, I am not just pollyanna positive all the time at the risk of oversharing. with you and your audience. I lost my sister last summer in the middle of the pandemic. I mean, this was horrible, horrible, sad loss. It’s not like my life is just a walk in the park all the time. But because I have been investing for years, I think I was able to bounce back a little sooner, a little more effectively, I was able to make my sister’s tough life, motivation for me to teach more people The Science of Happiness and well being so they don’t suffer as much as she did.
There are ways we can bounce back from even the hardest things and going in with a good buffer of happiness and engagement and success and all that good, all those good things we work on, it helps protect us against those inevitable tough times.
I agree completely. And one of the things you said about the labels that we’re using, I think makes such a huge difference. I have a client who had some issues in childhood and the words that he was using, it destroyed me, it ruined my personality, that word destroy. And I’m like, you’re sitting here you’re grown man, you’re not destroyed. But because you’re using this language and these words to describe it. I suffered far more abuse as a child and overcame that. And now when I look back, yes sucked. No, I wouldn’t wish it on anybody else. But I learned a lot from it. And it made me the person who I am today and I would never wish it on anybody but I am grateful for the experience and what I learned from it.
But if I were to use words like it just destroyed me. I’m like, just you know, or it’s a battlefield, I’m at war every day. I’m like, you are not at war every day in your comfortable office. Like, if we put you on an actual battlefield and had people shooting at you, then that would be accurate words to use to describe your experience.
But when we’re putting these tremendously powerful words around these experiences, it’s almost like we’re making it impossible to get up above it. impossible to get over it. We’ve made it so huge. It’s like we’re underneath the problem. And we, we’ve used these words, we can’t get out from underneath it, because these words are too big.
Yeah, absolutely. I saw a great speaker. Forgive me, if you’re listening and I mangling your name. I think it’s Steve Napoleon was his name. Not quite right on the last name, pronunciation anyway, forgive me. He said, what do we do when we make words were spelling, we’re casting spells. When we use words, we’re casting spells on other people, we’re casting spells on ourselves.
So you know this as a coach? Yeah, if I’m sitting here saying my life was ruined, I am damaged, I am broken. I mean, it’s like, I might as well be casting spells on myself that make my life horrible. But again, science has found there’s something called Post Traumatic Growth, which it sounds like you experienced. And I’m so happy for you. And again, this is not easy, right? It’s easy for me to say this in a short podcast interview, and somebody out there listening to this is suffering. I know there’s somebody listening to this, who has a parent who’s losing their memory, or they’ve just lost their job.
I mean, life is hard, right? And this is not just like, just put on a buzzsprout and life is great. No, it’s not that. But it is possible to learn and grow from the hardest things in life. It is possible to choose words that at first, you don’t believe. I mean, our brains, we think of ourselves as one person walking around, right? And we are right. But there’s a lot of different parts in the brain, right? For example, over a dozen parts of the brain are doing visual processing, if you’re a normal person with sight.
So if somebody’s watching this interview on YouTube, you’ve got 17 different parts of your brain or more doing visual processing, you have no conscious awareness of that. You just see, right? So there’s lots of things going on in your mind, which is why you can go to a movie and the good old days pre pandemic sit there and say, I’m sitting in a theater, watching a movie, with tears streaming down your face full of emotion, right?
So what’s my point, the point I’m trying to get back to is that you might not believe at first, I am strong, I will survive this, I will grow out of this tough time. But if you make a sticky note and put it on your bathroom mirror, if you put it on your computer, if you wake up every morning and say I am strong, I will get through this, I will get to better times. I’m going to grow through this. You might not believe it the first 58 times. But eventually, somewhere in the late 80s of repetition. You’re like, you know what, I feel a little stronger today. I’m not sure why.
Mantras are easy to mock, they sound all woowoo. In my coaching clients mantras have been very successful. I had a coaching client who was lacking confidence. His was “I got this.” Every time he walked through the door at work. He said, I got this and you know, at first he doesn’t believe it. But over time, it starts to become reality.
I love that so much. I recently just finished a think it’s called The Magic of Big Thinking. And I can’t remember that guy who wrote it. But in the book, he talks about doing a 60 second commercial for yourself. And like every morning when you get up, you do a 60 second commercial on yourself to sell you to you, right. Because we tend to wake up and we use all these labels and today’s gonna suck and bla bla bla and it’s like, start the day with a 60 second commercial selling you to you about how great you are amazing. You are powerful. You are the choices that you’re making and put the right labels right on your day on yourself of how you want to move through your day. I just think it’s so powerful.
Scott, I could talk to you all day long. Fantastic. All right. So I’m going to ask you for one final thing, anything that you want to leave with our listeners today.
A new indifferent thought we haven’t talked about is to gamify your life, gamify your work. I am a game designer, I help people gamify things. Why does this matter? Because if you take a scientific look at games, games, whether they’re video games, or charades or whatever, they tend to satisfy intrinsic motivators, we have specifically autonomy, relatedness and mastery, and then surprise tends to be a hook that brings us coming back.
So games are wonderful at delivering autonomy relatedness mastery, and self prize. So earlier I talked about flow. I know for a bunch of people, if I tell them look, the best thing you can do for your work day, what I do I put a sticky on my desk that says “flow first.” I tried to get 90 minutes of focus time on my most important thing before I opened email. And I bet somebody listening to this is like, what? There’s no way I could do that, right? But what if you gamify it for yourself? What if you get what if you lose a point every time you open up email first, and you get five points for every five minutes that you spend in flow before you check your email in a day. And your goal is to reach 10,000 points in a month. I’m making this up as I go, right? I’m not but I’m not making up gamification, it works because it taps into the way our brains are wired.
So look, life is hard. It’s been a hard hard year plus, let’s lighten up let’s have some fun, let’s gamify happiness, let’s gamify success, and coaching and work and getting the kids home on time or, or getting the dog to sit. I mean, gamification is a wonderful way to turn hard work into playful accomplishment.
Oh, I love that so much. And I like you like I spend the first hour or two of my day in flow. Like I don’t open the email. And I don’t even do my exercise my meditation until after I’ve done that first hour or two because for me, I’m a morning person. And that is when I’m just in that zone. And that first hour or two of the day when I get to just sit and just flow. I just sets the tone for the whole day.
And then I meditate and exercise and all of that. But I’ve heard I’ve heard a few people now saying like they don’t start the day with the meditation. And I think it’s personal preference. You guys I’m not saying there’s a right way or wrong way. But I love starting in a flow state. And I love you mentioned that several times. So amazing.
Scott, where can people find you?
Happybrainscience.com as well as social media. We have a free happiness starter kit people get if they sign up for our newsletter. We try not to, we don’t overload you with emails, we typically send you an email about once a month with science-based happiness tips and science of thriving tip. So happy brain science.com Thank you so much, Jennifer for having me.
You are so welcome and everybody I hope you enjoyed this podcast as much as I did. If you want more information about us, you can of course visit me at JenniferDawnCoaching.com or BestPlannerEver.com. Thank you so much for listening. You guys get out there and have a Happy Productive day.