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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happiness Advantage: Post #7--Start Small

Principle #5. The Zorro Circle: How Limiting Your Focus to Small, Manageable Goals Can Expand Your Sphere of Power
a. Zorro learned to become a great swordsman by mastering small circles (small chunks of learning) and then expanding his circles. The old adage applies here: How do you eat an elephant—one bite at a time!
b. Feeling in control is a great motivator/driver of success and performance. Mindset is how we interpret the world. The more we believe we have internal say over our world, the greater our achievement and the happier we are. A study of 7,400 people showed 50% higher risk of heart attack in people who felt they had little control over their deadlines.
c. Emotional Hijack: Fight between our reactionary (“jerk”) brain and our rational (“thinker”) brain. Our “jerk” brain takes over when fight-flight situation hits. Need to “think, then react.” Easier said than done. Financial losses are processed in same part of the brain as mortal danger.
d. Daniel Kahneman (Noble Prize winner) discovered that counter to classical economics, humans do not make rational, but rather emotional economic decisions. We have a deep sense of fairness and when that’s assaulted, we react emotionally, not rationally. Kahneman proves this in his “Ultimatum Game.”
e. How to deal with emotional hijack: Write it down or speak with a friend about it. By submitting the situation to language, we automatically defuse it. Then separate things you can and can’t control. Finally, attack things you can control—one bite at a time. Coaching uses this principle very well. Start the long journey with the first step.
f. Avoid reaching for the stars—rather go one step at a time. Choosing manageable but challenging goals seems to work best. Once those goals are complete, expand to the next level, and so on.
g. Bottom Line: “Small successes can add up to major accomplishments. All it takes is drawing the first [Zorro] circle in the sand.”

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