Wake up to a new and improved you

The sun had set Tuesday evening and I informed my son that it once again time for him to go to bed. Normally he moans and groans. “I’m not tired!” he’ll complain. “Five more minutes!” or “I just want to finish this show!” He doesn’t realize that the more he whines, the more convinced I am that bedtime has arrived. But Tuesday was complaint free – he was eager to go to bed.

Of course even though he wasn’t fighting me, we still weren’t completely able to take the express route to his bedroom. Instead we had to stop at each and every room of our house (excepting his brother’s because no one disturbs toddlerland after lights out.) At each stop, he would look into the room and say, “Goodbye [insert room name]. You are never going to see this five-year-old again.”

A wee bit melodramatic? Maybe. The ultimate bedtime manipulation? Perhaps, but he was just telling the room the truth. Upon Wednesday morning, the person emerging from his bedroom would be six.

I had to envy him a little. In his mind he was going to go to sleep a child, but would transform overnight into a more mature and capable version of himself. Someone who magically would now be able to handle more responsibility than ever before. Someone who would be instantly wiser. Kiddo 6.0 – now with even more confidence!

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all wake up one morning and suddenly be better than the person we were the night before?

A couple of days ago, I came across an article on the most viewed TED talks of all time, one of which was by Shawn Achor on the happy secret to better work. I’d seen it before, but it has an intriguing message at its core, and is entertaining enough to watch again. So I did.

“See what we’re finding is it’s not necessarily the reality that shapes us, but the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality. And if we can change the lens, not only can we change your happiness, we can change every single educational and business outcome at the same time.”

In his presentation, he argues that sustained happiness is not achieved by success. Instead it is happiness that creates success. So just be happy.

He makes it sound so easy. A kid can be happy for no other reason than he or she was named line leader for the day, but it can be difficult to remember how to appreciate the small joys once you’ve fallen out of the habit. Difficult, but if Shawn Achor’s stats are accurate, worth the effort.

Some of the most common tips for how to gain sustained happiness and self-confidence are to act positively and dream big. Considering a good night’s sleep directly correlates with my ability to do both of these things, my son’s way of thinking might not be that far off. Maybe I do just need to worry less about success and sleep more. Even if I don’t wake to overnight millions, at least I am better rested.

So success –  instead of chasing you, I’m going to try snuggling under the covers and appreciating where I am. When you are ready, you’ll know where to find me.

A foolish man seeks happiness

click on images for attribution

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