A couple of months ago I received a recommendation on Amazon that caught my eye. The title was Succeed—How We Can Reach Our Goals by Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D. Frankly, the title didn’t impress me much. Haven’t we all read too many books that claim the same thing, only to nod in agreement while stifling a yawn? What hooked me instead were the reviews. Dozens of reviewers said, “It’s a smart, fun, highly practical look at what we ‘scientifically’ know about setting and achieving goals.” As a person who enjoys learning why people do what they do (or don’t do what they should do), this book backs up its claims with scientific research. And while the pursuit of goals is the focus of the book, it is done in terms of behavior psychology and research. In fact, a key strategy to learning how a person pursues a goal is to discover whether they like to “Be-Good” or “Get-Better.” That choice says a lot about us and often determines whether or not we eventually succeed. [Read more…]
“…study after study shows that happiness precedes important outcomes and indicators of thriving.” ~ Shawn Achor
As a long-time student of happiness and well-being I had no choice but to buy the book, The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. Of course the truth is, I did have a choice—just like every single one of you. But as a major focus of the book explains, even though most of us realize we can take steps to improve our ongoing feelings of happiness, and grow a “happiness advantage,” we still sometimes avoid it or resist it altogether. The reason we avoid this type of thriving, and what we can choose instead is well worth the time to explore. [Read more…]
Most of us will admit to having a habit or two. Some may even admit to having quite a few. It is the rare individual that will admit that more than 40% of their daily actions are habitual—but that’s true according to Charles Duhigg in his book “The Power of Habit—Why We Do What We Do In Life & Business.” Like it or not, as humans we are creatures of habit. However, whether those habits are good or bad—and whether those habits are completely unconscious or purposely planned is largely within our control. In fact, learning what habits are and how they are created is an important step in creating a SMART life. [Read more…]
Have you ever heard the statement, “Argue for your limitations, and they’re yours?” In case you’re wondering, that quote comes from a book written by Richard Bach titled, “Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah.” When I first read it years ago I thought I knew what it meant. What’s interesting is that I seem to need to learn that lesson over and over again.
Limitations, of course, are any excuses I use to hold myself back and not live the life I dream of living. Limitations are also the rationalizations we all use for doing or not doing something, or believing or not believing just about anything. The big problem is that limitations seem so real that we often think we have no choice but believe them. Fortunately, there is now scientific proof that much of what is going on in our minds are stories we tell ourselves—that may or may not be, true. So if we are making up stories as we go along—why on earth would we invent stories that limit us and hold us back?
Ever heard of the parable of the hedgehog and the fox? These terms gained notice after a philosopher named Isaiah Berlin used them in a popular essay back in the mid-1900s. Berlin used the parable to analyze the worldviews and history of Tolstoy in his classic manuscript, War & Peace. And while I haven’t read War & Peace in many years, or the essay by Berlin, I did read a more recent book entitled, Good To Great by Jim Collins. Collins uses the allegory as a way to define how to be a leader and run a successful business. Even more recently, I came across the two terms in the book Thinking Fast & Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Kahneman uses them to define differing ways to think and predict coming events. But what exactly is a hedgehog, and how does it differ from the fox? Even more importantly, what does it have to do with your life and can it help you live SMART 365? [Read more…]
A big part of Living SMART 365 is staying conscious, awake and aware. In fact, most of us like to believe that’s what we do most of the time. But after reading the book, “Thinking Fast & Slow” by Daniel Kahneman, I’ve discovered that I am seldom as awake and aware as I think I am. In fact, far too often I frame most of my decisions like a lot of you—in the easiest and most comfortable ways possible. Fortunately, now that I have a better understanding of how human thinking and decision-making works, I can be more awake and conscious about some of the most routine illusions that befall us all. [Read more…]
Happy SMART Day Everyone!
I’ve always been fascinated by how people think. Particularly, I’ve always wondered why seemingly smart and intelligent people think, say and believe crazy things. For example, the evidence that humans are contributing to global warming is overwhelming and irrefutable by over 90% of scientists around the world. Yet, a huge number of people continue to deny it. Why? Simply put, it’s lazy thinking—or actually not thinking much at all! But before any of us start feeling superior—we all do this at least some of the time. In fact, a book by Daniel Kahneman entitled, “Thinking Fast and Slow” explains how human brains are hard-wired to process and function in ways that are easy and fast. The problem is—most of the time it’s not really thinking—although we all think it is! [Read more…]
One of my favorite authors is a man named Parker J. Palmer. Parker comes from the Quaker Tradition which embodies such a genuine depth of spirit and connection that I am always interested in what he has to say. With a background in education, spirituality, community, and leadership his latest book is Healing the Heart of Democracy.” And while politics may seem a strange bedfellow to spirituality or even SMART Living, the manner in which Parker approaches the topic is relevant to every single subject I ever write about. Ultimately, every one of his themes leads to a greater experience of the whole.
Is the human brain considered plastic? Yes, but unfortunately many people don’t know it. And, even though science now proves that the brain can structurally and functionally reorganize itself, many of us still live our lives as though we are stuck with whatever nature or God provided. Instead, ongoing studies now show that not only does our brain change in size and function throughout our lifetimes; certain areas compete for specific territory within the brain verifying a “use it or lose it” quality. For those of us who want to continue to embrace the best life has to offer, we’d be wise to continue to grow our brains on a daily basis.