By Leslie Galema
Picture it: It was December 2003, on the north side of Indianapolis, a young, soon-to-be-mom was counting the last few weeks of her pregnancy and trying to pass the time, when she remembered her husband had an Xbox. And so . . . she spent the next weeks addicted to Tetris. Not only that, but she also discovered that she could play CDs while she played—this thrilled her because she’d just bought Jessica Simpson’s new album, “In This Skin.” What luck! (smirk)
Would you believe that girl was me? It’s true. I am a recovering Tetris addict and Jessica Simpson fan. Anytime I hear a Jessica Simpson song, I am transmitted through a time portal to being “great with child” and a master at Tetris. I was fast and I had a great strategy! I could do it without thought, I was a machine! (No, my unborn child, was not harmed by my indulgence in such entertainment and has turned out to be a pretty great 9-year-old, thankyouverymuch!)
That leads us to this week’s study of The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. This week, we’ll unpack two happiness principles, Principle #3 The Tetris Effect and Principle #4 Falling Up.
Principle #3 The Tetris Effect
Just as Jessica Simpson triggers an urge in me to play Tetris, others have said that if they play Tetris for an extended period of time, they catch themselves naturally playing it during ordinary day-to-day things. One person admitted that while grocery shopping, He was looking at the cereal boxes for shapes and sizes to make them match.
In our work and personal lives, we are often rewarded for noticing the problems that need solving, stresses that need managing, and the injustices that need righting. The trouble with this is that we miss out on the positive. The good news is we can retrain our brains to scan for the positive! William James once said: “My experience is what I agree to attend to.”
Tetris Effect Challenge:
The best way to kick start retraining our brains to look for the positive is making a daily list of the good things in your job, your career, and your life.
Write down a list of “Three Good Things” that happened to you each day and your brain will be forced to scan all the positives. A variation on the Three Good Things exercise is to write a short journal entry about a positive experience. It makes the meaning and purpose in your job more apparent, so that you can start connecting to your calling, making you happier, which means your brain will be functioning at a high level for more of the time! GO!
Principle #4 Falling Up
The most successful people see adversity not as a stumbling block, but as a stepping-stone to greatness. Take Michael Jordan, for example, who was cut from his high school basketball team, or Walt Disney who was fired by a newspaper editor for not being creative enough. In their successful careers, these men describe those moments of “falling up” as a learning experience that shaped them to who they were to become. Michael Jordan once said, “I’ve failed over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed.” Michael Jordan knows what it means to “Fall Up.”
At the end of this chapter, Shawn Achor writes:
Above all, remember that success is not about never falling down or even simply about falling down and getting back up over and over. Success is about more than resilience. It’s about using that downward momentum to propel ourselves in the opposite direction. It’s about capitalizing on setbacks and adversity to become even happier, even more motivated, and even more successful. It’s not falling down, it’s falling up.
It is humbling to me that, while God could have chosen any way to tell His story, He picked us. We are constantly messing up and that is exactly why He chose us! God is not concerned with the perfect picture, but our stories of restoration! Below are some questions to journal about this week:
What are some of those “falling up” moments in your life?
What did you learn about yourself?
What did you learn about people?
How can failure in your life benefit your leadership and your team?