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Cultivate Luck

Lesson 8 from: FAST CLASS: The Power of Happiness

Vanessa Van Edwards

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Lesson Info

8. Cultivate Luck

Lesson Info

Cultivate Luck

I wanna talk about a jack. Now a jack is what lifts up a car to change a tire. And when I was thinking about when I was reading all these studies, study after study about perspective and the power that they have, it made me think of this little tiny tool that can lift an entire car. And I feel like what we're gonna learn today seems like a really small thing, a really simple mindset trick however, the power is huge. And so I call it our lucky jack cause I feel like it can lift up so much even though it's a really small trick and tip. I believe this is a secret happiness lever. I don't think we think about mindset a lot when we're thinking about happiness. This is also about our expectations so when we're thinking about what makes us happy, we have set ourselves up for happiness by what happens before a happy event similar to anticipation but a little bit different. And lastly we're gonna be working from the inside out so starting with mindset to change our actions and behavior. Of cour...

se, we're gonna start off with a warm up. Our warm-up today is I want us to start thinking about harnessing and honing our luck. So I wanna ask you and you at home, please take out your workbook and turn to pillar number eight, your lucky jack and I want you to think about what is the luckiest thing that ever happened to you. And we don't often think about our lives in terms of luck but I want us to do that right now. I also like this anecdote, which this was came from the book elite minds which I love and basically it talks about how in 1954, it was believed impossible to run a mile under four minutes. We thought it was physically impossible for humans to run a mile that fast. Then Roger Bannister did it in three minutes and 59 seconds. Within weeks of Roger Bannister breaking that barrier dozens of other athletes also began to break it. What this shows us is that if we're told oh you can't run a four-minute mile, our brain doesn't even try right. It actually sets up a barrier, we set up a barrier for ourselves based on what we think we can and can't do. But the moment someone else does it first, we're like oh we can now. So today I want to tell you that you can all run faster than four minute miles, right. Whatever it is you've been thinking about doing or even wondering can I do that, that's not the question, the question is should I? Is that part of my design life? You can do anything you want. The question is, does it fit into the trajectory, the goals you have for your life. So this is actually called something that is kind of priming so it's predictive encoding, that's the fancy word for it, which is basically that when we prime ourselves to have a favorable outcome, we actually prepares our brain to make that outcome come true. So if you tell the brain, you're gonna perform really well today. You're gonna run really fast, you're gonna look really young, the brain's like oh we better act in the way, we better change physiology somehow to actually make that come true so I want us to leverage that for our benefit. I'm curious so you can get your red and green cards out at home. I want you to answer this question. I actually want you to think about the answer to this question. I think you're either looking or you're waiting and so there's not a wrong here, I just want you to think about what where you fall. Do you typically look for opportunities or you waiting for opportunities? Which one do you think you fall in? I'd love to see, okay interesting. And by the way, if you don't know, thank you perfect. So if you don't know the answer at home and you can raise two, I think this is something really interesting for us to think about because this has to do with our lucky jack right? I think either we're in a active state, we're out there looking to change, we're trying to change. We're saying you know what, I think I can run a four-minute mile and I'm gonna push myself to do it or we're saying I'm gonna let the world tell me what I can and can't do or I'm gonna see what opportunities are happening and then I will take it. It's a very, very different way of thinking and we're gonna get into that with the growth mindset in a second. Of course, I love this quote. We often say when opportunity comes a-knocking right, but actually that's a waiting state right. Waiting for opportunity to knock is it means you're waiting on the other side of the door for the world to knock at you. And so Tracy Morgan has this joke when opportunity knocks, you should let it in and invite it to sit down at your table. F that, I take it captive. I got opportunity tied to a chair in my basement (laughs) which is a very active one. So I ask you are you waiting for opportunity to knock on the door or do you have it locked captive in your basement? So let's take out your workbook and let's do a little bit of a luck bomb. A luck bomb is how I'm gonna start priming your brain to see more luck opportunities. So in your notebook, what I want us to do is I wanna think about and this is more than just luck now. These are more than just moments of luck. Was there a time either in your personal life, your career, or your social life where you felt like an unexpected opportunity completely changed the trajectory of your life? And the reason for this is because I think that as adults, we like to think that everything is planned right. We have a business plan, we have a life path, we have a school path. Even at the beginning of school, we set out all of our classes in a row, but a lot of the time our life does not usually follow that trajectory and looking back we don't always acknowledge that maybe that was a good thing right. That may be going off track a little bit, going off path and having unexpected opportunities served us really well. Dr. Carol Dweck, wonderful book on mindset and she has done incredible research on how our mindset affects our behavior. Very, very briefly so growth mindset is that our intelligence, talents, and skills can be improved whereas those of us who have the fixed mindset believe we are born with a certain innate intelligence, set of talents, and skills that cannot be changed. Here's the thing about growth mentality and luckily our mentalities can be changed. We don't have just one mentality, we can change it over time. Hopefully today, I'm gonna convince you that you should adopt the growth mentality if you don't already have it. People with the growth mentality have lower levels of depression. They typically earn 57% more in salary negotiations. By the way, I think that has everything to do with that four-minute mile. I think that if you have a fixed mentality, you say well my salary last year was $30, and according to, my earnings this year should be $32,000. Therefore I'm going to give him a range of 30 to $33,000. That's very fixed right where someone with a growth mentality says well sure I earned $30, but you know what, I've gained some new skills, I feel like this company is bigger, I'm gonna shoot a little bit higher. I'm gonna ask for a higher one, right? That's a different way of looking at our skills, our adaptable or if they're set in stone. And lastly, people with growth mentality typically report higher satisfaction in all of their relationships romantic as well as friendships. A couple other things about growth and fixed. This is I think the most important part of this mentality and it's how we look at wrong answers. So in the Colombia Brain Wave lab, they gave participants a quiz, a kind of mathematical intelligence quiz and they put them into an MRI machine and they had someone on the speaker in the MRI machine telling the participants which questions they got wrong or right. What was interesting was is during the wrong answer explanations so when someone said, okay you got number three wrong, you said that it was a hypotenuse, but actually it was a hehehe right. I don't know what the other answer is to that. So people with a fixed mindset who took that quiz I gave you had less activity in their brain. Whereas people with a growth mindset had more activity in their brain. What I think this indicates is that if you have a growth mindset and you got something wrong, you made a mistake, you look at that mistake and you say I'm gonna learn from this. Whereas if you have fixed mentality, you say well mistake is just part of my DNA. I was gonna make that mistake, there's nothing I can do about it and so we shut down during mistakes. That also makes the mistake more permanent. If you have a fixed mentality and you think your mistake was a part of you, you are gonna feel worse about that wrong answer. Whereas if you hear you how to wrong answer and you're like okay well, how would I have figured that out? Oh it was a hypotenuse, interesting. Then you don't attribute that mistake to you, you attribute it to something that you can learn and change. That is how I think we talked about mistakes and self-confidence, mistakes versus failures, right. That's the difference between the two. So when you look at the two, you see that fixed mindsets tend to say things like this, I'm a failure. They typically will wait for the perfect mate. They have a lot of deal breakers when it comes to relationships. They say I can't do it. They typically shift blame and they like to hire yes people. Whereas growth mentality, they use a little bit of a different language. They'll say I failed at this. They recognize a really good relationship and don't want it to be perfect but say let's try to grow together. There I can learn to do it, I can change to do it. They typically hire better people and they try to excel in many different areas. The further we harvest or cultivate that growth mindset, the better off we are and the less bad we feel about mistakes we make. So I'd be curious now that I talked about this, now not now but for most of your life, do you think you've had a growth or fixed mindset for most of your life? Little mix. Okay I also had a very fixed mindset growing up. I had to work really hard in changing to a growth mindset. The good news is we can change our mindset and that's what we are going to be doing today. That's part of this predictive encoding. Again I had that full growth test for you on my website. If you're not sure if you're at home and you're like I think I'm growth but I'm not sure, there's an official test from Carol Dweck on our website, it's totally free. So how do we harness a growth mentality specifically. I've heard the growth mentality concept a lot before but I never quite knew what were the tactical things I could do to get a growth mentality. I'd be like sure, I wanna learn so I think the best way to harness the growth mentality is with learning and luckily you're already in this class so we're already starting at because learning is so good for us in so many ways. It brings lots of growth. It helps us feel less stuck. It helps us hit flow from positive psychology. And why, it's because it introduces the concept of I can do more. In Sangha day seven, we talked about I belong and how that's a really powerful phrase. I think the next most powerful phrase might be this one. The feeling of I can do more than this. I can run faster, I can read more, I can earn more, that is an incredibly empowering feeling and that produces dopamine and endorphins. Learning is another pleasure making activity. So what I want us to do is I want us to create our learning bucket list. So we talk a lot, you hear a lot about bucket lists right? And bucket lists are great but I think all of us in our lives should have things we want to learn about, skills you wanna learn, things we wanna try so what I want us to do is think about what are the different skills or ideas you wanna try and especially if we can tap into mastery area. So is there a skill on your skill chart that you read and maybe you gave it a two or three but you really wished you were a four or a five. Or was there a for on your skill chart that you really wish could be a five right. So I want you to go back to your mastery chart as part of your homework and I want you to look at those skills and see which one do you want to flip up into another one cause I think yes, we have natural talents that we were born with but I also think that we can create natural talents if we want them and that skill chart is not permanent. That's the good news is that when you retake this class in a year and I do want you to re-watch day number two, I want that skill chart to be different. I want your numbers to change with skills you've learned or adopted or rediscovered or discovered for the first time. Of course your happiness chart and your playstorming area also might tap into learning especially in the openness category, there was classes I suggested or things you might wanna learn. Let's go into number two, progress driven. The other hidden lever, hidden jack of happiness is about progress and we don't think about progress that much but the power of small wins is tremendous. Here's a study that I wanna talk about. Both, they found that progress is a better motivator than financial incentives, compliments or rewards. And this is crazy for a second, let's say that you have a teenager and you want them to clean their room. Most adults would say I'll offer an allowance for it, I'll punish them for it, I'll give them compliments on their clean room are those of the ones that usually come to mind. Actually science says the best thing you can do is when they do clean their room is to indicate how far they've come right. So instead of looking in the room and being like oh, your bed still isn't done, you're actually better off looking in the room being like wow I'm so glad you put away the dishes. Last one is easy, make any decision at all. So we don't think about decisions as a celebration but actually our brain loves to make decisions and here's the science behind that. Decisions are a way of creating progress so making decisions specifically in your brain triggers the prefrontal cortex which feels the same positive feelings we get when we set goals. So you know how when you're sitting down and you're journaling about goals, you get like this yeah, I have so many big goals, that's actually dopamine, right. That's your prefrontal cortex giving you pleasure. The same thing happens when you decide we're gonna have vegetarian for dinner. I'm gonna make sure that I post this post today at 11:00 a.m. I'm gonna learn how to do Facebook Live. When you make those decisions, they're actually mini goals. Your brain does not know the difference between a mini goal and a decision. So if you cannot find yourself making progress or you're having a blah kind of a day, the best thing you can do is make a decision on almost anything because that is for your brain a way of making very small progress. Making decisions also helps us reduce worry and anxiety because it makes us feel in control which we know from day number four is really important for our feelings of happiness. One single decision can help you overcome striatum activity, which is where negative impulses originate. So this is very simplified, I had to simplify some of the science into a couple of bullets. But basically what this study found is that when we are thinking about bad behavior like we're thinking about doing something that we would know wouldn't serve us very well when we're in anxiety, we're in that worry echo chamber right when you're just in that what if, what if, what if, that typically happens in a specific part of your brain. So when you make a decision, it activates the prefrontal cortex which helps override that worry echo chamber. So if you feel very, very worried, bogged down, anxious, you get up and you're like ooph, I'm feeling a lot of dread today, the best thing you can do is make any decision at all even I'm gonna have oatmeal for breakfast and I'm gonna add five blueberries. That helps override that anxiety that's happening especially if you don't know the cause of it because sometimes that can happen with our anxiety. Does that makes sense the idea of a decision? Perfect. Last one is future driven. So this is I think the hardest one today. This is optional but I hope that you will go on it with me. So the faster we learn to drop our emotional dead weight, the more room we create for something better. So I think the best way that we can run four minute miles or emotionally run four minute miles is to drop all the weights that we're carrying. It's really hard to run fast and achieve goals when we're carrying a lot. Anger so when we looked at our happiness research, anger was a part of this happiness research. We asked people what makes you angry? How anger you on a day-to-day basis? What we found was is it anger is actually not the opposite of happiness. We're gonna learn about the opposite of happiness in day 10. What it does though is it consumes it so it's kind of like a Pac-Man that's how anger is. Is it isn't the opposite, it's even worse. It actually takes any happiness that it smells, think of angry like a really hungry Pac-Man and it goes and just chomps it up. So I think that we have to focus a little bit in this course. Yes, I want talk about how to create happiness but it also want to get rid of the blockers or the consumers of happiness. And this is the best metaphor for anger. Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else. You are the one who gets burned right. When you're holding on to anger, you're the only one who's getting burned. I think that how do we begin to let go of anger like where does it even go? There's one thing I think we can do together to start this process and that is looking at forgiveness. So a lot of anger has to do with people, things that have held us back or make us feel there was an injustice served to us. However, forgiving those things and those people is actually one of the most freeing things that we can do and here's what the science has to say. So when we forgive, it strengthens our immune system. It increases our self-esteem and it improves our relationship and this is just one study of many that talked about the emotional benefits of forgiveness. I also think of course it let's go of anger but I also think that it helps us go into truth. Our brain loves truth. We love to speak truth. It feels like it's lighter cognitive load, it makes us feel free, it makes us feel authentic and real. You notice I don't say live your authentic self a lot in this course. I don't mention authenticity a lot because I actually think that when we were speaking in truth, you don't even have to worry about authenticity. And lastly, I think it helps us live more in the present. A lot of happiness studies will tell you live in the present moments, smell the flowers, be more present. I never really understood what that meant. I never really knew how to do that. But I do think that letting go of some of those past weights can help us be free to live more in the present. So in your bonus, I want us to do an activity together. So I think that we actually have this in your workbook, it's also in your bonuses so if you just wanna hit the RSVP button on the course page, you will get all those bonuses for free. I wanna do a little activity. Just brain dump here and I'm not gonna ask you for your answer out loud so don't worry, I know that it's very personal. What pops into your head when I ask you the question what anger coal are you holding onto? Is there something that you've been holding onto the just kind of burns you a little bit? Next question, who do you need to forgive? Is there someone that pops in your mind that even though you don't like to admit it, you really know that they deserve some forgiveness? And lastly, what are you ready to move on from? Is there something in your past or something in your life that you feel that you've been sort of carrying with you as a little saddle bag that it would be really nice to kind of just drop it and leave it? So I want us to think about this and as we're thinking about it, I actually want you to sort of purge a little bit about it. I want you to write about this. The reason for that is because Journal of American Medical Association found that writing is the best way that we heal. That's how we actually let things go. Expressing a bad experience or writing about negative feelings or putting forgiveness into words is one of the best ways that we have that forgiveness boost, increasing the immune system, making us have more self-confidence. So what I want us to do is I want us to just surrender for a second. So all of you in the audience have white cards. At home, I want you to take out a white piece of paper if you can and on this piece of paper, I want you to capitalize. Remember how we learned in week five the one word, the idea of one word. I want you to think of that coal, that person, that idea and I want you think of one word for what it would feel like if you let it go. So not the anger, don't write down an anger word. Write down the feeling of giving it up. Would it be relief? Would it be happiness? Would it be freedom? What's that one word that's going to define what you're gonna feel afterward and if you could just write down that one word. At home, if you could write down that one word. Write it down and when you're done, I want you to actually you can fold it for me so that it's kind of private and I want you to hold it up, please. I'm gonna do one too. All right. All right, you ready? So when you surrender, you wave your white flag, right? So we're gonna say at the same time I surrender. You ready? One, two, three, I surrender and I would like your white cards cause I'm taking that from you. So that anger coal you're gonna give it to me and I'm gonna take them and I'm going to burn them. Thank you, thank you. Does that feel good? Can I like get a little (sighs) a little bit of relief. At home, I want you to take your piece, I want you to fold it up. You can either crumple it up, you can burn it. It's like a symbolic sort of letting go. My challenge for you today, it obviously takes a little bit more than this but I want you to think about what is one little piece of movement you can get. What's one little bit of letting go that you can do so you are free to run that four-minute mile? I will take these and keep them safe. Ah last one, I forgot. Of course luck driven. We talk about the lucky jack, I finally have to talk about luck. I think that when we're talking about luck, when I've explored this in my own mind, I either think it's on or it's off. What I mean by that is either you're in the mindset of on so the opposite of negativity bias, positivity bias. What's working for me? You're going around the world and your like this is working for me or you're off and you're thinking what's working against me? And you're going through the world and you're like oh there's traffic today, ugh of course this person didn't get me coffee right. Like you're doing all those working against me things. I think that there's very little in between like you're usually in the on or you're in the off. I think this happens in different ways. So this can be internal right so you can be exploring in an on way by looking for the Tetris effect. You can be exploring in an on way by looking for your skills. You can be exploring in an on way by playstorming with hope and curiosity or looking for your gratitude totem. So every day that we've learned so far, I've been trying to trick your brain into turning on. You can also do this externally. So in your workbook, I want us to do what I call the on or off activity. So if you turn, this is a little bit later in your pillar number eight and we're gonna do is we are going to and there's a lot of by the way extra, I have a ton of extra credit prompts in the workbook for you this lesson so please go through them for your learning bucket list. Have ideas, ways you can do your learning bucket list. So on number four, you'll see luck driven. So we're gonna talk about when in your life are you on or off specifically waking up. I think when you're on when you first wake up, you say things like this. Oh, I'm so excited today for blank should go so well. Today is going to be great in this way. If you're off, your mind sounds a little bit more like this. Ugh, I wanna go back to sleep. Oh that's gonna be so stressful. I am dreading blank. So I'm curious, get out your red and green cards. Most of the time, do you think you're on or you're off when waking up? So this is not wrong or right but I want you to sort of think about next time you're waking up, am I on or off right. Where are you starting your day? Next one, going to bed. On sounds like this. Oh, yeah that went so well today. The best part of my today was tomorrow I'm excited about. Whereas off sounds like that went wrong. Tomorrow is going to be stressful, I'm dreading. By the way, this is fixed mindset, this is growth mindset. When we're talking about on or off, they tend to match. So when you're going to bed, do you think you're usually on or off? what's kind of the feeling? You can have both okay. Pre and postmortems so whenever I go to an event, I typically am premorteming. So I'm in my mastery people skills class, I talk about getting ready for an event right like how you think the events gonna go, practicing responses, practicing your elevator pitch. And I also do postmortems, right. You leave an event and you're like God I should have said, I wish I had done, that person was there right. You're kind of going through what happened in that event. So I'm curious when you're getting ready for an event or after an event, are you on or off? On sounds like I'm excited for, this event's gonna be a great opportunity, I know blank will go well. Or are you off? Ugh it's gonna be really hard. This will never work because, blank did not go well. What do you think, ons or offs? Okay so we don't often think about this state but because we know the power of predictive encoding, if you're on before an event, that is going to change how you are at the event. If you are on, it's much more likely the event will also stay on and then your post-mortem will go well. If you were off before an event, it's almost impossible for that event to go well. So how can you be more on? I want you at home and here in the audience to think about just one, one area to focus on to try to be more on. So is it waking up? Is that the most important part of your day? Is it before you go to bed? Is it before you hit that amazing REM sleep? Or is it before or after events? What's one area of target? If you do all of them at once, it's too much. So how many people think that they're gonna try for waking up? How many people think they're gonna try for going to bed? Okay how about pre-mortems before events? How about post-mortems after events? Interesting, very evenly split. So that's okay, I want you to pick your number one thing and focus on it and then in your happiness check in a few weeks when you kind of come back to this course, try to add one more to the list. The other aspect of this is also external exploring. We've talked a lot about our mindset today, but I also think that you can be on for people in your life. When you're with friends, you can be on or off. Sorry this is so small. When you were on with friends, you ask questions but also turn them on. So instead of saying, oh is that work project really hard or are you really stressed? Is that your busy season? You can ask things like hey, what was the best part of your day? Working on anything fun? Any interesting projects happening at work? Those are on questions. Two things happen when you do this. One is you give the gift of turning them on right in a good way, emotionally turning them on and then you also, they will usually ask that question back to you so even if you are feeling off or neutral, they help turn you back on because they're asking that question. You mentioned when I ask from you that I want that from you, it's much easier. It's the same thing with friends. So try to set up your social relationships for the predictive encoding so it's this beautiful circular happiness. With family, at the end of the day, what went well today? What do you most excited about for this weekend? Did you learn anything in school today? Learning and encouraging that learning, what was the new thing you learned actually also helps your children with that learning aspect, that growth mentality. My dad by the way asked us that every single night at dinner, what did you learn today? And if we did not have an answer, he would be like why are you going to school? Go find something to learn. And so at the end of the day, I would usually like save something for him. A new word that I learned, a crazy fact that I learned. I'm so grateful for that teaching. I think that's one of the reasons why I still learn is cause he encoded or he'd built that system into my head at the end of every day. With colleagues, we don't do this a lot of work but I actually think that we can be turning people's light switches on all over the place at work. All different kinds of questions. So what did you learn the project? What did you like best about the speaker, the training, the meeting? Working on any exciting projects? Is that project going as well as you had hoped? What was your biggest aha moment? What was the most important thing I learned right, sharing that for people? Be that person. Be that person after meetings, after trainings, after experiences where you are always asking those kinds of questions. Not only will you give the gift but they will also typically come to you even on your bad days to ask you those questions, which then flips you into an upward spiral. Special note of course this also helps activate other people's g-spots, right. It helps them be more grateful for learning. It helps them feel like they are giving as well especially when you're asking for help, which I think is one of the best things we can do with others.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Desktop Backgrounds
Best Future Selves
Citation List
Happiness Audit
Happiness Benefits
Happiness Means Forgiveness
Happiness Scripts
Happiness Structure
Happy Calendar
Happy Reading List
K10 Test For Distress
Partner In Joy
Power of Happiness Workbook
The 4 Motivators
The Giving Warmup
Virtual Toolbox