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“The three greatest predictors of happiness are gratitude, social connection, and meaning.” Shawn Achor
When I read this comment while waiting in a doctor’s office, I found myself thinking “That sounds right to me.” The words also piqued my interest, so I chased down a little more background on our boy Shawn and came across another comment he made:
“Happiness is NOT the belief that everything is great, happiness is the belief that change is possible. In Before Happiness I define happiness as ‘the joy one feels striving for one’s potential.’ Small mental victories, especially in a rough economy, lead us to a cascade of
success based on positive changes. A positive mindset results in 23% greater energy in the midst of stress, 31% higher productivity, 37% higher levels of sales, 40% higher likelihood to be promoted, and improved our longevity… The greatest competitive advantage in the modern economy is a positive and engaged brain.”*
I’m not sure where Shawn’ stats spring from, but I am sure that he’s onto something. I love his description of happiness as, “the joy one feels striving for one’s potential” – so inspiring and uplifting! As writers working steadily at improving our craft, we are constantly striving to build our skills, expand our horizons, and tap our full potential.
And consider Shawn’s three predictors of happiness:
Gratitude: What a joy to be able to be able to write – to strive to capture and share our ideas and experiences and beliefs with others. To create new worlds that we can inhabit. To bring to life bits of feeling and action by turning them into characters. I’m grateful every day for the chance to play on the page. How about you?
Social connection: As a writer, it’s easy to feel isolated – solitude is something we’re all achingly familiar with. Sometimes it’s a blessed state of aloneness where we’re free to explore – and sometimes not. But there are always ways n our writing life to reach out and connect – through critique groups, readings, book clubs, literary chats. And what better way to connect than over something you love – words, books, and writing?
Meaning: There are so many satisfying ways to pursue meaning in the world! And surely, writing is one of them. To give voice to what we’ve learned about life and love and pain, to create whole worlds people can get lost in, to strive to catch the quiet, inner whisperings of the soul and heart – these are surely satisfying ways to find meaning.
How lucky we are: We have everything we need to for happiness at our fingertips! Let’s remember this and the positive energy it unleashes as we all write on!
*For more on Shawn Achor, check out TED talks and the Harvard Business Review.