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Mastery: Utilize your greatest talents and skills

Lesson 2 from: FAST CLASS: The Power of Happiness

Vanessa Van Edwards

Mastery: Utilize your greatest talents and skills

Lesson 2 from: FAST CLASS: The Power of Happiness

Vanessa Van Edwards

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Lesson Info

2. Mastery: Utilize your greatest talents and skills

Lesson Info

Mastery: Utilize your greatest talents and skills

Before we get started, I wanna talk about our goals for today. So mastery is really about capability, it's about power. I think it is a missed happiness trigger. Oftentimes, when we hear about or think about happiness, we think like happy, go lucky, right? We think kind of like this bubbly effervescent painting or cooking in the field with sunshine. But actually, happiness comes from some very serious emotions about feeling talented and capable and like you really own who you are and what you do. So we're gonna be talking about that today. It's also about control, and I think that power makes us feel more in control of our moods and our happiness. And lastly, I want us to feel more powerful, more like we can kick butt in whatever we do. But of course, every day we start off with a dance, 'cause that releases some happy chemicals and we do a warm-up. You're ready for our warm-up today? At home, please get out a piece of paper and a pen and your workbook if you have it, and I want you to...

think about when was the last time you lost track of time? When was the last time you were doing an activity and you looked up and you were like, whoa, it's been three hours or it's been 30 minutes and I thought it was five minutes? What was that activity or place or person you were with where the time went really, really fast? If you can think of one, awesome. If you can think of two or three or four or five, even better. So learned helplessness is this idea that we once had a power or capability or a freedom, it was taken away from us where we couldn't access it for a short period of time, and then when we get it back, we forget to use it, or we don't think we can use it. The most classic example of learned helplessness they give is with math students. So let's say, for example, a child takes a geometry class, and ooh, geometry's just not as how their brain thinks, maybe they didn't get along with the teacher, so they're doing bad in the class, they get bad grades on their math test. The next year, they take algebra, but they did so bad in geometry that they just figure, I'm just bad at math, and so they stop trying on the math test, they stop studying, they try to get out of all their math testabilities. So in other words, a temporary label, they make it a permanent prescription. So I want you to think for just a second, this is what we're gonna be talking about today, is there something that you believe you cannot do or is impossible for you, and how did you learn that? When did you assign yourself that temporary label or when did someone give you that temporary label? What they found with learned helplessness, and there's a lot of really robust research on this topic, is it's actually associated with lots of different kinds of anxiety, phobias and loneliness. That even in social situations, social anxiety actually comes from an area of learned helplessness. Like for example, let's say that you went to a high school dance and it was horrible, really awkward, no one asked you to dance, it was uh, couldn't even talk to anyone, you felt awful. Next time, later in life, you go into a nightclub for a friend's birthday party and it instantly reminds you, I'm bad at dancing. Right? But actually, you had a horrible high school dance, no one likes those high school dances, and so you get horrible anxiety standing in the nightclub. That is a way that that learned helplessness, that label that we gave ourselves in eighth grade stays with us. In the words of Jason Comely, "Your comfort zone may be more like a cage "you can't escape from than a safe place "you can retreat to." And that is a perfect follow-up to the example that we were talking about, that our comfort zone is a beautiful place that makes us feel safe, but sometimes it also feels like it traps us in. Yes, sounds familiar? So a little less specific, I got some greens. Yes, all right. So here is my big idea, is I want us to swing a little bit bigger, specifically, I think that we have forgotten some of the happiness skills we actually had as kids. So day two, three, and four, and a little bit of five too is about harnessing some of those skills that we might've had back in the day that we've forgotten to use or forgotten to utilize. In fact, I think we forget how capable we are and how much happiness that can produce. We often assign, we're like, oh, I wanna be happier, or like, I don't have time to do nature walks, or I need to take more vacations. Nature walks and vacations produce a lot of happiness, don't get me wrong, but they're not the only thing. In fact, sometimes finding an algorithm for your job or finding a really good book actually can trigger that happiness and that is a much easier thing to grasp. So we're gonna be harnessing some new talents and figuring out new ways to use them. In your bonus material, you have an exercise about what motivates you. So if you wanna find that in your bonus material. I also believe that it is in, some of it is in the workbook as well, so you can use that if you have that already too. I want you to think about what are the different things that motivate you. Because when we talk about action, we have to talk about the things that spur action, right? What are those things that drive us? I believe there are four different motivations. So I want you to think about the biggest decisions you've made in your life, some of the big choices. When you took a different path or you decided to engage in a different career, what were those big choice moments? And there are four different types of motivations. The first one is by default. So a lot of the times, we make decisions based on the default settings. The example I'm gonna give you actually is a very personal one to me, where my high school choice of classes. I made choices based on default things. What everyone else took. I took the same classes that my older brother took a lot of the time, because I felt like, oh, that's just what you do. The second way that we make decisions is by should. So this is when someone says, you should take all four lab classes, right, or you should take a foreign language, that will get you into college. So I also began to pick classes based on what I should do to get me into a good college. The third way is by the system. So this is when something is prescribed to you. So for example, there was general ed requirements in my high school and my college that I said, oh, I gotta take all of these 'cause the system tells me that's what I need to graduate. The last one is by design. So these are the very, very few classes that I took because I genuinely had an interest in those classes. The problem is, is that when you think about the first three there's some things that can come up. Not always, but sometimes. When you pick, when you make decisions based on those top three, you can often have those feelings of less fulfillment, you are less successful because they don't necessarily come natural to you, they don't feel like they were your choice, it takes the control away from you. This is a great source of unhappiness. And lastly, I believe this is where imposter syndrome comes from. We talk about imposter syndrome, it's one of the things I researched in my lab, and when I dig deep into the very base reason why sometimes we show up to something we feel like we don't belong or we're a total fraud, that's the definition of imposter syndrome, I think it comes from original motivations that were not designed by us, they felt out of our control. The last one is where I wanna focus. I wanna start turning some of your day to day decisions into by design decisions. I think the solution here is mastery. This doesn't necessarily mean a huge career change, but it does mean trying to find small kernels of capability in everything that you already do. Because that broadens and builds. So utilizing your greatest talents and skills to feel accomplished, capable, and powerful. Dr. Barbara Frederickson, as I mentioned, created this broaden-and-build theory. Very specifically, it's actually a very simple theory. What she found is that single, very small positive emotions, especially like pride, efficiency, and capability, those are the ones that really get us going, tend to spur on broader thinking. So focusing on these single kernels of when do I feel pride? When did I lose track of time? That actually brings, even in a job you don't like or doing a bigger activity you don't like, it makes that activity a lot better and it makes you feel more fulfilled before and after you do it. So if you flip it, according to Dr. Barbara Frederickson, we get an upward spiral. We get, we start with a natural talent, that makes us feel really capable. We're like, yeah, I'm a rockstar at this. Then, it makes us feel more efficient, right? If we're good at something, we're faster at it, we do it better than everyone else. Then, what comes next is we become successful. People notice, wow, she's really good at that. Wow, he gets that done way fast than someone else. And then you begin to get more raises, you begin to get more promotions, and you feel really proud. You're like, yeah, like I do this, I feel great that I'm being recognized for it, and of course this leads to more fulfillment and greater happiness. It is the opposite of that downward spiral when you focus on those small capabilities. I call this the Designed Life. Once I sat down and I started cataloging my decisions, I realized we are making dozens of decisions in a single day. Everything to am I gonna cook dinner or am I gonna order dinner? Right, am I gonna drive or am I gonna take an Uber? Right, am I gonna say yes to this project or am I gonna say no to this project? Am I gonna ask for help on this or I'm not gonna ask help on this? We are making dozens of decisions every day, and the question is, what is motivating those decisions? How can we make the right ones that makes us feel capable and give away the ones that don't make us feel like we're using our natural talent? In the words of Abraham Maslow, "If you plan on being anything less "than you are capable of being "you will probably be unhappy all of the days of your life." I also think this is about utilizing our full potential. All right. Ah, yes. Regret. Regret is one of those emotions that I think it's the kind of root of a lot of sadness, right, it makes us question our past. Some people say that it's not a very productive emotion. Right? I actually think that when we focus on designing our decisions, when we think about the moment before we make that decision how it's going to fix or contribute to our fulfillment, it is the antidote to having regret later. And I want us to live a life where we are regret free. We've also heard about positive psychology, right? Flow. How many heard of the flow concept? Okay, good. So I didn't wanna spend a lot of time on this, but I had to mention it. The other thing that happens when you focus on capability is this beautiful concept that comes from positive psychology called flow, which is that when you are fully immersed in a feeling of intense focus, you get energized, you are fully involved, and you have more enjoyment in that activity. This, in turn, of course, part of the Designed Life, makes you feel more productive, more fulfilled, and more effective. So capability is also very tied with that concept of flow. Now, I've been talking about careers, right? Big things, being an accountant or making these big decisions. But capability is even the smallest things. Your seed of capability can be anything. For example, has anyone seen the movie "Hero Dreams of Sushi?" Great documentary. He spent 10 years perfecting the perfect sushi rice. Right? And this gives him an intense amount of fulfillment and pleasure. So it doesn't have to be a huge life-changing thing. When you feel really good at something, even making the perfect sushi rice, that seed broaden and build in other areas. So let's go into an activity. You guys ready? So at home, I want you to pull out your workbook and go through this activity with us. We're gonna try to identify some of your capability areas. So if you turn to the What is Mastery section, I have a couple of blank questions for you in the workbook. First question. What do people ask you for help with? All right, now a harder one. What special talents have brought you to where you are in your life? So I want you to think about the decisions you've made. Some of the forks, right? What special talents caused you to make some of those decisions, to bring you right here, even in this room? So I want you to think about these, three or four of these ones. Next one. What would your friends say you are very good at? So a couple of your answers earlier are like planning things. If I asked your best friend right now, if I texted them and I say, give me one thing that you are very, very good at? What would they give for you? 'Cause sometimes if we're feeling blocked, this exercise can help. Now let's formalize this. Okay, that was kind of the warmup to this. In your workbook, I have a big chart, this is the complementary chart to your happiness, your chart of happiness. So your skill temperature chart, this is a big one, and I think we have over 40 different skills that I have listed here. So this is a very specific chart of skills. And I think that most of the ones that you guys brought up would fall into one of these categories, but I also have blank ones at the end. Here's what I want you to do. I want you to pull out your workbook, pull out this skill chart, and I want you to do three different things with it. Again, there are three columns, same with your chart of happiness. First, look at the skills. Underneath each area, I want you to actually write down specific examples for you. Right, so kind of customize that skill specifically for you. Then I want you to give it a rating. This time we're doing one to five. One being like, ugh, I am not good at this at all. Five being, I'm a master at it, okay? And then the last column, and this is your most important column, is how are you currently exercising this skill? Right? What are you doing in your life to exercise it? And it might be nothing. Right? You might identify a skill that you realize, oh my gosh, learned helplessness. I have not been using this skill at all. Right? I used to do this in college, but I'm not doing it at all now. Like one of my previous beta students, one of her skills was like spontaneity, was like being really open, but with a spontaneous flair that in college she was always the one that people would pop by her room and they'd hang out and do something, but every since she left college, she's no longer in a dorm. So she realized she loves being spontaneous, but she never uses it. Everything is like planned weeks in advance with friends. And that is something that she missed. So I want you to think about how you're using it and if you're using it at all. Bonus challenge for you, at home especially, is think about what are the three different ways you use it? Home, work, and play. Do you use that skill in three different areas? Hopefully you can find ones for all three, and if not, I'm gonna give you lots of ideas for that tomorrow during play storming. Here's the biggest thing, the next steps. So once you fill out your skill temperature after your chart of happiness, is I want you to look specifically at the fours and fives. Okay, those are the skills that are like, yeah, I'm really good at this. And then I want you to start to identify the gaps. Where are the skills that you feel really good at, but there's no activity for them? Or you use it a lot at work and not at home? Or you use it a lot at home, but not at work? Where are those gaps? Those are the specific areas that we are going to be focusing on for the next few days. Here's some really cool symptoms of mastery. So when you find these areas and you find new ways to utilize your talent, it typically sparks all of these other really cool emotions. Right? Pride, excitement, accomplishment. Also, we are playing Tetris, right, we are playing Happy Tetris where I'm asking you to explore these skills. Every time you think of a skill, it's gonna stimulate new ways for you to use it, right? I have a lot of people who tell me, you know sometimes when I have the day off, I don't know what to do with myself. Right, I have the night off, and I'm like, what do I do? So I just turn on Netflix and I watch Netflix. Or I have 20 minutes and I don't know what to do, so I turn on Facebook. These are for those moments. For you to think about what are some things you can do when you have a full day off or a 20-minute free time, how can you use those in different ways? I believe they are much more invigorating than Netflix or Facebook. Right? Sometimes when we are low on energy, we typically go to our lowest common denominator activities, our fives, our neutrals. But those do not give us energy. I want us to be focusing on design choices that actually spur action. And lastly, of course, they create upward spirals. This is really helpful in work as well. So this is not just a personal, a personal thing that we do. Special note. You might be surprised. So again, when you're doing this skill temperature, do not give me aspirational answers, give me answers that you would even answer for your 10 or 12 year old self. Sometimes adults, we're so used to what we're good at and what we're bad at that we say, oh I'm so bad at singing, oh I'm so bad at organization or routine. I want you to think about what would your younger self answer when you were a little bit more open, a little bit more experimental, what could possibly be an answer for you?

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