Hey, let's get happier!

I've been digging into research a lot the last few months.

Going deeper than ever before.

(We're cooking up some amazing things, and you'll hear about it before anyone else!)

One research paper struck me.

It has a strong connection to growth.

Growth in our client relationships.

Growth in our learnings.

Growth in ourselves.

The nut of the study?

Happier people express gratitude and optimism.

Those make sense, right?

But, it's how this should be done that was new to me.

Gratitude and Optimism

Most likely, you're a growth-oriented person.

You help others see new ideas.

You move them towards a better future.

You create win/wins for all involved.

Being a growth-oriented person is hard.

We need mechanisms to keep us going.

To help us keep fighting forward, even when we have headwinds.

We have to fight for positive progress.

Two feelings can help.

1. One is being grateful for what has happened.

2. The other is feeling optimistic we can prevail.

Most people haven't been taught how to practice this thinking.

Great news.

Here's what the science says.

(Original study HERE.)

For gratitude, simply write down something you're grateful for.


My take is that it doesn't have to be some big, life-changing thing. That's where I see people get hung up. Lower the bar for what you write.

Seriously, write down whatever comes to mind.

Things I've written lately:

  • I'm grateful for 29 years of marriage.
  • I'm grateful that a training session with clients I like a lot went super well.
  • I'm grateful I was feeling the sun's warmth on my face as I wrote.

The process is similar for optimism.

Writing something, anything, that you're optimistic works.

My recent examples:

  • I'm optimistic because of a kind note from a friend and client saying she and her husband were going to "celebrate" a big win he got that day. She texted a picture of an outdoor fire she had just made that they were going to sit by and reflect his effort and outcome. (This made me so happy and made me feel like my work is making a difference!)
  • I'm optimistic because we made a small mistake with an important client but rallied, learned, and are all the better for it going forward.
  • I'm optimistic because my younger daughter Josie adopted a kitten and man, is she having fun with that little guy!

The science shows feeling gratitude and optimism make us happy.

Keys to success:

  • Write gratitude and optimism with intention. Knowing you're doing it to be happier helps. Enroll yourself.
  • Write whatever comes to mind.
  • Do this consistently over time.

I put this into practice in August, and I already see an impact.

I've added one simple thing to my weekly Most Important Things (MITs) planning time.

My MIT planning time is the 15 to 30 minutes I spend each week looking back and planning forward. I'm a 3pm EST Friday guy. ;)

I simply added two questions to a template I've built into my journaling app, Day One.

That's where I write my weekly notes.

(This week will be 312 weeks in a row!)

I just added these two prompts.

1. I feel gratitude for...

2. I feel optimistic because...

Answering both those questions once a week has made a big difference.

It only takes 30 seconds.

It's funny how small the things are that come to mind, yet what big a difference they make.

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