Happiness Advantage Part II

Changing your performance by changing your mindset  

It had been long thought that reality was objective and fixed. That, there is an absolute truth. We now know however, that reality is subjective and dependent on the observer. In other words, reality is determined by an individual's perception and mindset.  

The mental construction of our daily activities, more than the activity itself, defines our reality.” 

Take for example one research study conducted in Japan. A blind folded group of students were told that one of their arms was being rubbed with poison ivy. Although the researches were actual rubbing them with a harmless plant, the group of students all started to exhibit symptoms of poison ivy. Itching, red, blotchy and boils were felt and seen on the arms.  

Contrastingly, another group of blind folded students were told that they were being rubbed by a harmless plant when in fact, they were being rubbed with the ivy. However, only 2 out of the 13 felt the symptoms. The other 11 did feel any itching nor did they have any redness or blotching.  

This suggests that what we believe, our perception (mindset) of an event, is what determines the reality. 

Our brain only has so much power to process the infinite amount of signals it receives in a given moment. In order to be as efficient as possible our brain starts to only pay attention to certain information, usually what it has been patterned to tend to.  



  • Expectation Theory: our expectations create brain patterns that can be just as real as those created by actual events. 
                             So we if expect to fail, often times we will fail. 
                     When we believe we will succeed, many times we do. 

What is the take home message? You must first believe in your ability to succeed. Doing so, research has found, has a bigger impact on how much effort you put towards the goal. How can you put all your effort into something that you think will fail in the end?  

All this being said: Make a choice to shift your perspective...



  • Stop thinking that you can't
  • That there isn't enough time
  • Challenge your excuse
I indirectly blog about this principle all the time. Just because you are married or in a long term relationship, does not mean you have to fight all the time or that you have to stop desiring one another. If you are in your late 60's, does not mean that you can't start getting healthy.  

Consider this study that had a group of 75 year old men stay for a week at a retreat that in it, only contained items dating back 20 years. In other words, everything in the men's environment supported the idea that they were now 55 years old.  

Before the week began, the men took tests on everything from cholesterol levels to cognitive ability to bone density. What happened after a week of pretending to be 20 years younger? Afterwards they were tested again on all the measures and found to have levels similar to other 55 year olds. Pretending to be 55 for one week had such an effect on all the men that their vision improved, they had better short term memory, more muscle mass and they looked younger!

This is a challenge to start assuming that you can do anything you set your mind to.