Translator: Ereblir Kadriu Reviewer: Amantia Gjikondi When I was seven years old and my sister was only five years old, we were playing on the bed. At that time I was two years older than my sister– I mean, I'm two years older than she is now– but at the time it meant she had to do everything I wanted her to do, and I wanted to play with war. So we got up on our beds. And in one part of the bed, I had to pull out all my GI Joe soldiers and weapons. And on the other side were all My Little Ponies sisters ready for a cavalry pay. There are various explanations for what really happened that afternoon, but as long as my sister is no longer with us here today, let me tell you the real story – (Smile) – which is a story that shows its awkward side.
Somehow, without any help or encouragement from her older brother, suddenly Amy disappears from the top of the bed and came down with this crash to the floor. Now I nervously go out on the other side of the bed to see what had happened to my fallen sister and I saw that she had fallen to the ground in her hands and knees with all four limbs on the ground. I was nervous because my parents had engaged me to make sure my sister and I to play as safely and calmly as possible. And seeing how I accidentally broke Amy's arm just a week ago .. (Smile) …. heroically pushing him out of the way from a bullet coming in front of an imaginary sniper, (Smile) for which I still have to thank, I was trying as hard as I could – she did not even see him coming – I was trying so hard to behave the best.
And I saw my sister's face, this groaning of pain and suffering and surprises threatening me that I will show and threatening me to wake up my parents from hibernation. So I did just one thing my seven year old brain was thinking how to bypass this tragedy. And if you have children, you have seen this thousands of times before. I said, "Amy, Amy, wait. Don't cry. Don't cry. A e pe sesi re? In no human land does she like it. Amy, I think that means you are a unicorn. " (Laughter) Now this was a hoax, because there was nothing in the world that my sister would want more than Amy was not the injured five-year-old little sister, but Amy the special unicorn.
Of course, this was an option that was open in her brain at no point in the past. And you can see how my poor and manipulative sister faced the conflict, as her little brain attempted to devote itself to resources to feel pain and suffering and surprise that she just experimented, or thinking of her new identity as a unicorn. And the latter won. Instead of crying, instead of interrupting our game, instead of waking up the parents, with all the negative consequences that would result for me, instead of that smile that spread to her face and she went back to bed with all the charm of a unicorn child .. (Laughter) …. with a broken leg. She cka na pengonte at this fragile age of only five and seven years old – we had no idea at the time – it was something that would be in the scientific revolution that happened two decades later in the way we look at the human brain. What we all stumbled upon is something called positive psychology, which is why I am here today and the reason I wake up every morning.
When I first started talking about this research outside the academy, through companies and schools, the first thing they said never to do is to start the speech with a graphic. The first thing I want to do is start my speech with a graphic. This graphic looks boring, but this graphic is the reason I get worried and wake up every morning. And this graph means nothing; are false data. What we find is – (Laughter) If I were to get that data here to study, I would be shocked, because there is very clearly a trend going on there, and that means I can publish. which is very important. The fact that it is an unusual red dot that is high above the curve, is a weird one in this room – I know who you are, I saw you earlier– no problem. No problem, like most of you, because I can not delete that point.
I can delete that point because it is clearly seen to be a measurement error. And we know it's a measurement error because it is confusing the data. So one of the first things we teach people in economics and statistics and business and psychology courses it's like in a statistically valid way, we eliminate the odd ones. How to eliminate isolated persons so can we find the line on how to best fit? Which is fantastic if I try to find it how much is Advil's amount that an average person should take – two. But if I'm interested in potential, if I'm interested in your potential, or for happiness or productivity or energy or creativity, what we are doing is that we are creating the cult of the average with science.
If I were to ask a question like, "How fast can a child learn how to read in a classroom?" scientists change the answer to "How fast an average child do you learn how to read in that class? " and then adjust the class to the mean. Now if you fall below the average of this curve, then the psychologist will worry, because it means that you are either desperate or you have a disorder, or maybe both.
We are hoping for both because our business model is, if you come to a therapy session with a problem, we want to make sure you go knowing you have 10, so you keep coming back again and again. We will go to your childhood if necessary, but ultimately what we want to do is make you normal again. But only the average is normal. And what I put forward and what positive psychology puts forward is that if we study what is only average, we will remain only average. Then instead of deleting those isolated people, what I intentionally do is come to a population like this and tell you, why? Why is it that some of you are so high above the curve? in periods of your intellectual ability, athletic ability, musical ability, creativity, energy levels, your resilience to the challenge, your sense of humor? Whatever it is, instead of deleting you, what I want to do is study you.
Because maybe we can gather information – not just how to move people to the average, but how can we move the whole mean in our companies and schools around the world. The reason why this graphic is important to me is, when I turn on the news, it seems like most of the information it is not positive, in fact it is negative. Most of them are related to murder, corruption, diseases, natural disasters. And very quickly, my brain starts to think this is the exact ratio of the negative to the positive in the world. What she is doing is creating something called school medical syndrome – where, if you know people who have been to medical school, during the first year of medical training, as you read through the list of all the symptoms and illnesses that may occur to you, suddenly you realize you have them all. I have a son-in-law named Bobo – which is another story. Bobo married Amy unicorn. Bobo called me from Yale School of Medicine, and Bobo said, "Shawn, I have leprosy." (Laughter) Which, even in Yale, is extremely rare.
But I had no idea how to comfort the desolate Bobo because he had just taken over a whole week of menopause. (Laughter) What we find exists and is not necessarily the reality that shapes it but the lens through which your brain sees 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. When I applied to Harvard, I applied with a challenge. I did not expect to enter, and my family had no money for college. When I got a military scholarship two weeks later, they let me go. Suddenly, something that was not possible became a reality. When I went there, I assumed that everyone would see it as a privilege, that they would be glad to be there. Even if you are in a class full of smarter people than you you would be happy to be in that class, that's what I felt. But what I found there is, that while some people try it, when I graduated after four years and then I spent the next eight years living in dormitories with students – Hravard asked me; I was not that boy.
(Laughter) I was a Harvard officer to advise students during the difficult four years. And what I discovered in my research and teaching is that these students, no matter how happy they were with their original success of entering school, two weeks later their brain was focused, not on the privilege of being there, neither in their philosophy nor in their physics. Their brain was focused on the competition, on the workload, stress, complaints. When I first got there, I went to the freshman dining room, in which my friends are from Waco, Texas, the place where I grew up – I know some of you have heard of it. When they came to visit me, they looked around, they said, "This dining room looks like something by Hogwart from the movie "Harry Potter," which he does. This is Hogwart from the movie "Harry Potter" and this is Harvard. And when you see that, they say, "Shawn, why waste your time studying happiness at Harvard? Seriously, what do Harvard students have to be unhappy? " Embedding within this question is the key to understanding the science of happiness.
Because what this question assumes is that our outside world is predictive of our levels of happiness, where in reality, if I know everything about your outside world, I can only predict 10 percent of the longevity of your happiness. 90 percent of the life-length of your happiness is predicted by the outside world but by the way your brain processes the world. And if we change that, if we change our formula for happiness and success, what we can do is change the way that then we can influence reality.
What we found is that only 25 percent of work successes predicted by IQ 75 percent of work successes are predicted by your level of optimism, by social support and the ability to see stress as a challenge rather than a threat. I spoke to a boarding school in England, probably the most prestigious school, and they said, "We now know it. So every year, instead of just teaching our students, we also have Good Week. And we are very excited. On Monday evening we have the world leadership expert that will come to talk about depression in adolescence.
Tuesday night is school violence and insults. Wednesday evenings are eating disorders. Last night drug use. "And on Friday night we are trying to decide between risky sex and happiness." (Laughter) I said, "This is the Friday of most people." (Laughter) (Applause) Which I'm glad you liked, but they did not like it at all. Calm on the phone. And calmly, I said, "I would be happy to speak at your school, but just so you know, this is not the week of goodness, this is the week of sickness. What you have done is you have presented all the negative things that can happen, but you did not talk about the positives. " The absence of disease is not health.
Here is how to gain health: We need to change the formula for happiness and success. In the last three years, I have traveled to 45 different countries, working with schools and companies in the midst of economic downturn. And what I found is that most companies and schools follow a formula for success, which is this: If I work harder, I will be more successful. And if I am more successful, then I will be happier. This supports most of our parents, our management styles, the way we motivate our behavior. And the problem is that it is scientifically broken and backwards for two reasons. First, every time your brain has a success, you just changed the purpose of what success looked like. You have good grades, now you have to get better grades, you have entered a good school and after entering a better school you get a good job, now you have to get a better job, you hit your sales target, we are going to change your sales target.
And if happiness is on the opposite side of success, your brain never goes there. What we have done is we have pushed happiness on the horizon of cognition as society. And that's because we think we need to be successful, then we will be happy. But the real problem is that our brain works in the opposite order. If you can raise someone's level of positivity in the present, then the experiences of their brains what we call the priority of happiness, that is your brain in positivity performs better sese to the negative, neutral or stressed. Your intelligence increases, your creativity increases, your energy level increases. In fact, what we find is that every business output improves. Your positive brain is 31 percent more productive than your brain to the negative, neutral or stressed. You are 37 percent better at sales Doctors are 19 percent faster, more accurate to bring the correct diagnosis when positive instead of negative, neutral or stress.
Which means we can change the formula. If we can find a way to become positive in the present, then our brain works more successfully as we are able to work harder, faster and more intelligently. What we need to be able to do is change this formula so we can begin to see what our brain is capable of doing. Because dopamine, which floods into your system where you are positive, has two functions.
Not only did they make you happier, this results in all the learning centers in your brain allowing you to adapt to the world in a different way. We discovered that there are ways you can handle your tour to be able to be more positive. In a space of two minutes of time made for 21 consecutive days, we can actually reinstall your brain allowing your brain to work more optimistic and more successful. We have done things in research now in every company I have worked for, convincing them to write three new things for which they are grateful for 21 days in a row, three new things every day. And at the end of it their brain begins to maintain a pattern of scanning the world, not for the negative, but for the positive. Protocol about a positive experience that you have followed after the past 24 hours allows your brain to reduce it Exercise teaches your brain that your behavior matters.
We found that meditation allows your brain to arrive at the cultural ADHD that we have been creating trying to do multiple tasks at once and allows our brain to focus on the task. And finally, random acts of kindness are conscious acts of kindness. We get people when they open their inbox, to write a positive email praising or thanking someone on their social network. And doing these activities and training your tour as we train our body, what we have found is we can change the formula of happiness and success, and in doing so, we not only create a burst of positivity, but we create a real revolution. Thank you very much. (Applause).