find the

You Don't Find Happiness, You Create It | Katarina Blom | TEDxGöteborg

[Music]

hello everyone I would like us to begin

with a short exercise so can everybody

place their hands like this reach out

your hands

thank you and I will count to three and

when I say three I want you to clap your

hands okay one two three so I did this

to show you that we don't always do as

other people tell us to do we rather do

as other people do and this is important

when it comes to creating well-being in

ourselves and in others I'm a

psychologist and I train organizations

teams and individuals in creating

happiness and well-being and a couple of

years back I co-authored a book on the

science of happiness but when the book

was published I was actually in the

middle of a life crisis I've just broken

up with the person who I thought I'd

spend my life with I had no place to

live and no job and I think this is a

very common human experience we all face

problems we end up in crisis sometimes

and we struggle but at the same time I

think most of us we long for that other

kind of life that entails meaning and

connection and happiness but it's kind

of difficult to live this life to always

be there in this happy place and today I

want to show you why your brain is not

always on your side when it comes to

creating happiness but also what we can

do to counter this and it's not going to

be by just positive thinking

this takes positive action because

happiness is a skill we all can train

and work on I want this to start here

how it's not just about positive

thinking

so let's begin with this have you ever

found yourself in a situation where

you're really worried about something

and you kept worrying even though you

knew that worrying won't change the

situation or help the situation in any

way and nevertheless you just kept on

worrying hands up right we're all doing

this and if we could have total mind

power and just switched over to these

happy thoughts

we just have done that and get on with

our lives but that doesn't really happen

does it and did you know that about half

of the time that you've been listening

to this speech your mind has probably

been wandering off thinking about other

things according to a study by Daniel

Gilbert and Matthew Killingsworth our

minds wander forty-six point nine

percent of the time we spend awake so

our thoughts are automatic they have a

life of their own and to create

happiness by just control positive

thinking I think it's hard it's not even

possible impossible and I think it's

time that we start talking more about

this how can we take positive action

actually making the change in our lives

because if I would ask you to keep your

focus on your breath

don't think about anything else for five

minutes I doubt that anyone in this room

would be able to do that but if I would

ask you to please raise your hand like

this for five minutes I think we all

would be better able to achieve this so

it's really difficult to control our

thoughts and we have a better chance at

controlling our actions our behavior

therefore well-being is better built by

positive action and not positive

thinking also we tend to look at

ourselves as if we're these objects

rational beings and that perceived

situations in this objective manner and

we process information almost like a

computer I just take information in but

in reality very far from objective and

that's actually a good thing because if

we would truly be able to process and

perceive reality in all its nuanced

complexity we would be rather lost it

would be an overwhelming experience so

therefore our brain have evolved several

cognitive biases that helps us

categorize and prioritize and sort

information making it more easy for us

to navigate but these cognitive biases

this sorting and prioritizing is really

affecting how we perceive life how we

perceive different situations and I'd

like us to explore this further in a

little thought experiments so I invite

you all to think back at the last time

that you had a evaluated conversation

with your boss or manager and I'm quite

sure that you got to hear a lot of good

things things like how you contribute to

the workplace but I'm also quite sure

that you got to hear something that you

can improve with yourself with your

performance and once you leave this

conversation what do you think that your

brain thinks is the most prioritized

information all the things that you do

really good or the one thing that you

should be improving well if you're

somewhat like me it would definitely be

the latter and this doesn't really have

anything to do with how my brain works

this is actually a pattern that's been

shown among people for example

serious are marbella is a professor at

Harvard Business School she did a diary

study where she got to read people's

Diaries

to explore how they experience everyday

life and she saw a pattern that the

negative effect of a setback was more

than twice as strong as the positive

effects of a success and the same thing

goes with money that we feel way worse

about losing an amount of money than we

feel happy about gaining the same amount

and if you would receive a compliment

from a co-worker and then a complaint

from another co-worker these two

comments don't neutralize each other the

complaint would definitely leave a

stronger emotional mark so now we need

to ask ourselves why why do we carry

this emotional asymmetry why do we have

this preparedness to experience

unpleasant and negative emotions and to

understand that we need to understand

the context the environment where our

brain has been evolving for so many

years today several studies say that we

have evolved a negativity bias which

helps our attention to be drawn to

unpleasant or possibly threatening

information and this was really good

back then and there

when we were at the Savannah fighting

for survival every day but today here

and now this definitely affects how we

perceive our life how we perceive our

relations our workplace our own

performance and ourselves so to simplify

this a bit one could almost say that

your brain is concerned that you survive

throughout this day it's less concerned

that you're a happy survivor so by now

we can understand that it's not strange

that all of us sometimes feel anxious or

tense are we worried in one sense we

were built for this but most of us we

long for this other kind of life with

the meaning and the connection and the

happiness and I'm not sure that we can

have

one thing without the other but there

are definitely things and ways how we

can cultivate happiness and build

well-being but this comes with good news

and bad the good news is that happiness

it's not something you find outside of

yourself and it's not something you have

or don't have it's a skill that we all

can work on but the problem is that we

just don't do it

and this definitely applies for myself

this is the worst part of having written

a book on happiness because whenever I'm

having a bad day there's always someone

who can do like having to read your own

book Katerina you should know better so

I've learned that not even experts on

happiness and knows how to turn

knowledge into action and this is one of

the reasons why me and a friend have we

started a psychological gym where

organizations and the teams and

individuals could come and train these

skills in order to create more happiness

and well-being because we want to make

psychological training as common as

physical training because today we know

so many things about how to eat properly

and how to exercise to sustain a

physical health but what would be the

psychological version of a green

smoothie or of doing 50 situps

is there really such a thing and I would

say yes definitely there's a lot of

different exercises and things we can do

building healthy habits for ourselves

and I would like to present an example

of this so once you finish listening to

this pitch when you're leaving this room

later tonight I'd like you to bring out

your smartphone and takes a kind

appreciative gratitude text to someone

that you care for and maybe you can just

notice how that fits and this is a good

example of an exercise that I often do

with leaders and teams and just a couple

of weeks back I did this at a two-day

leader

conference and later I found out that

one of the participants had texted his

wife writing I love you very very very

much which made the wife think what are

you doing at that Leadership Conference

and it just tests texting one person at

one time it won't change the world in

any way but turning this into a healthy

habit over time can have a large impact

and to dedicate this habit to caring for

your relationships might be one of the

most powerful actions that you can take

when it comes to happiness so this might

be the green smoothie that you've all

been waiting for according to several

studies having functioning relationships

is as important if not even more

important as exercising well and having

a good diet and this can even help us

live longer in a study from Harvard

University which began already back in

1938 researchers followed over 700

people to understand what it is that

makes us flourish as people so they

followed these participants for decades

and in 2012 the results came the

researchers found that happiness doesn't

come from wealth it doesn't come from

fame or working hard

it comes from relationships and it's not

about the number of friends that you

have or whether or not you're in a

committed relationship with a partner

they found that it's the quality of the

relationship that counts

being able to be vulnerable listening

and sharing what's close to your heart

that's what matters and by now we know

that forming good healthy habits when it

comes to physical training or having a

good diet it takes dedication it takes

commitment

and I think we should approach

psychological habits in the same way and

especially when it comes to

relationships so by now we know that the

brain has this tendency to highlight the

negative and that this is really tricky

to revoke just by positive thinking it

takes positive action but some actions

are more powerful than others when it

comes to happiness and investing your

time and heart into the relationships

around you no matter if it's at work or

with neighbors or with family or friends

this might be one of the most powerful

things that you can do for yourself and

I'd like us to do this one more time so

can everyone reach out their hands and

I'm gonna count to three and when I say

three I want you to clap your hands okay

one two three yay great so we learn by

watching others behavior you've just

seen me do this two times and already so

many people change their behavior so the

more you can turn this talk into action

by being more understanding and caring

not just towards others but also towards

yourself I think that others will follow

your example and do as you do and the

people outside of this building they

won't know what just happened they won't

know what changed but we know that it

was here in this talk that everything

started thank you

you