“You’re used to doing so many things without any intention in the first place.” – Katie Lee, The Small Change Project
That’s a zinger of a first line, but it’s true for a lot of us. Maybe most of us. We tend to give little thought to how we approach things, cycling through days and even weeks on autopilot. We do what we’ve always done, just because we’ve always done it.
Then, at some point, you realize you’re not getting the results you want. Not even close. And because the goal feels a long way off, you assume you need to make big, sweeping changes. After all, you want big results.
But it’s the little changes that make all the difference. And the biggest little change you can make is entirely internal.
I’ll explain by telling you two things I’ve discovered about myself. Perhaps they’re true for you, too. Here’s the first thing I’ve discovered.
I have two modes. One is what I call my “approach mindset.” When I’m in this mode of thinking, I focus on possibilities. I’m on the lookout for opportunities, tuned into the key things I want out of life. As a result, I tend to be upbeat and optimistic.
My other mode is different. I call it my “avoidance mindset.” In this mode, I’m primarily concerned about the things that could go wrong. I end up grasping for control and obsessing over problems I see in myself and others.
Take a wild guess as to which mode is more enjoyable and fulfilling.
In his book, “Hardwiring Happiness” author Rick Hanson explains a secret about happiness. He calls it “taking in the good,” and here’s what it means.
There are little jewels in life, opportunities to appreciate something good. Most of the time, we acknowledge those positive experiences in passing, but we keep our main focus on problems or goals for the future.
But you can hardwire the brain for happiness with one simple change.
It’s just a simple habit. You develop the habit of “taking in the good,” which means practicing the art of appreciating the small, good things that happen on a daily basis.
Here’s why it matters.
It’s not just the accumulation of positive emotions that matters. Rather, it’s the way this small habit rewires your brain for happiness. The potential for personal transformation (and enjoying your life) is tremendous!
By practicing a focus on taking in the good things in your daily life experience, the neurons of your brain literally rearrange themselves in ways that make you more aware of good events. You actually begin to get better at consciously experiencing positive emotions.
This happens because of practice. Your brain changes into a brain that is more open to experiencing positive events.
This is the essence of what differentiates a positive, optimistic person from someone who experiences life with a constant sense of bitterness and frustration.
Can this help with dating and relationships?
You can transform your life by adopting short catchphrases you repeat to yourself often.
Big companies use this technique on you all the time. Some business people call them “micro-scripts,” but you will better recognize them with a few examples. They are short phrases that are easy to remember. They are designed to influence your thoughts about a certain company or brand. Here are some examples:
“Like a rock.” – Chevy
“1,000 songs in your pocket” – Apple iPod’s original catchphrase
“What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” – The Las Vegas tourism promotional campaign
“Enterprise picks you up.” – The slogan for a rental car company
“Diamonds are forever.” – A complete game changer for the diamond industry
At other times, micro scripts are used to change people’s opinions or gather support. Here are some examples you may recognize:
“If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” – From the O.J. Simpson defense attorneys
“Guns don’t kill people, people do.” – People who don’t like gun control
“Friends don’t let friends drive drunk.” – A public campaign to reduce drunk-driving fatalities
These short catchphrases are powerful because they are easy to remember. They stick in your thoughts and influence your mind. What if you could harness that same ability to influence your mind by designing your own short phrases?