HAVE YOU MADE a stranger happy today? For the 500 or so folks that gathered in early March for the 2015 NC Governor’s Conference on Tourism, we listened spellbound as Shawn Achor shared his research findings on the connection between happiness and success. He is the New York Times best-selling author of “The Happiness Advantage” and “Before Happiness.” Achor also holds a master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School in Christian and Buddhist ethics. We all know that people who come on vacation wish to experience joy and happiness.
Achor’s research has helped him understand that beyond the simple fleeting pleasures of life, like chocolate, is a deeper and achievable happiness. When he studied innately happy and successful people of all ages, from young children to elderly, Achor discovered there are three predictors of success. First, these people had adopted a rational form of optimism where they believed their behavior really mattered. Next, he observed that they all had very strong social connections. The third behavior is they perceived stress as a challenge that motivated them. These three behaviors were greater predictors of success, both academically and in business, and were even more reliable predictors for success than intelligence or technical skills. Also, people with these qualities were healthier and lived longer lives.
Tourism season is here on the Crystal Coast. Our visitors have returned, as we can all attest with increased traffic and crowded grocery stores. What if we all adopted the Ritz Carlton 10/5 rule so we can engage in all three behaviors above? The 10/5 rule is simply this – at 10 feet away look the other person in the eye and smile, at 5 feet away say “hello” or “good morning” and smile again. What is fun is you will receive a smile in return.
If you are interested in putting into practice the happiness advantage, Achor shared the following habits to do for 21 days to create Sustainable Positive Change:
- 3 Gratitudes, think of three NEW things you are grateful for and your brain gets “stuck” in a new positive effect; do this with children and create a life-long optimist!
- The Doubler, think of one positive thing that has happened then write everything you can about that experience for two minutes; your brain realizes this is meaningful and his clinical research has shown it even works for depression
- Do 15 minutes of a fun workout each day
- Meditation, do two minutes of contemplative breathing
- Do a Conscious Act of Kindness, praise or thank someone you know either in person, or even by email, or the time honored hand written note
I am so appreciative of my Emerald Isle Realty family that already embraces so much of these positive aspects of happiness, but I plan to challenge them to really live up to these ideals. It is our joy to work in the happiest industry in North Carolina, the tourism industry. Now, show me your smiles Crystal Coast!