Before somebody can make a change to their health and their happiness, their brain has already constructed a picture of reality in which change is possible or not. Basically, this predicts whether or not they’ll be able to make that change.

Some people see a world in which they’re only their genes and their environment; so they can watch a ton of TED Talks, they can read a ton of books, but they won’t actually incorporate any of those new changes into their lives…

A lot of frustration comes from us being irrationally optimistic about either the goal that we’re creating or the speed and the time it will take to get there. I have a great little cartoon that someone sent me on Twitter: A rhinoceros is on a treadmill, and it’s sweating and running as fast as it possibly can, and it’s looking up at this poster of this beautiful unicorn. So it’s trying to run as fast as it can to be a unicorn, and inherently it’s creating greater levels of frustration, because it’s not a unicorn, it’s a rhinoceros, and it should be the best rhinoceros that it can be.

From the TED Blog’s Q&A with TEDxBloomington speaker Shawn Achor, a psychologist whose work focus on helping people use positive psychology to be happier and more effective at work.

Watch his talk “The happy secret to better work” here»

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