Monday, February 25, 2013

8 things to do every day that will make you happier

Posted by Eric Barker in his “Barking Up the Wrong Tree” blog

1) Thank someone
First thing in the morning, send an email thanking or praising someone. Research shows this can brighten your day.

 2) Spend money — on someone else
Harvard professor Michael Norton, author of Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending, explains how spending money on other people can generate more happiness than spending on yourself.

3) Give 5 hugs
People assigned to give or receive hugs 5 times a day ended up happier than the control group. From Sonja Lyubomirsky’s very interesting book, The How of Happiness

In a one-of-a-kind study, students at Pennsylvania State University were assigned to two groups. The first group was instructed to give or receive a minimum of five hugs per day over the course of four weeks and to record the details. The hugs had to be front-to-front (nonsexual) hugs, using both arms of both participants; however, the length and strength of hug, as well as the placement of hands, were left to their discretion. Furthermore, these students couldn’t simply hug their boyfriends or girlfriends half a dozen times; they had to aim to hug as many different individuals as possible. The second, the controls, was instructed simply to record the number of hours they read each day over the same four weeks.

The hugging group (which partook in an average of forty-nine hugs over the course of the study) became much happier. Not surprisingly, the students who merely recorded their reading activity (which averaged a not-too-shabby 1.6 hours per day) showed no changes.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Want to Increase Happiness and Meaning In Your Life?

Is a little bit of awe what you need to be a better person? 
Is your calendar the secret to happiness? 
What makes for a meaningful life? 

Increase Happiness and Meaning In Your Life

Monday, February 4, 2013

Elevator Pitches for the Twenty-First Century

The 60-second "elevator pitch" has been standard operating procedure for many decades.  But in the twenty-first century, this well-worn practice has grown a bit threadbare.  The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that the typical American reads more than one hundred thousand words every day.. e-mails, texts and tweets, not to mention all of the blog posts we haven't read and videos we haven't watched.

Today, we have more opportunities to get out our message than ever.  As a result, we need to broaden our repertoire of pitches for an age of limited attention.

Here are six promising successors to the elevator pitch.  You can use them to begin a conversation that leads to moving others.

There are three ways to learn and perfect the six pitches: Practice, practice, practice. Here’s a place to begin.

1. The One-Word Pitch. (What product do you think of when you hear the word "Priceless"?)

 Pro tip: Write a fifty-word pitch. Reduce it to twenty-five words. Then to six words.
One of those remaining half-dozen is almost certainly your one-word pitch.

Your try: ______________________________________________________________________________________.

2. The Question Pitch. (Prompt people to come up with their own reasons for agreeing - or not.)

 Pro tip: Use this if your arguments are strong. If they’re weak, make a statement. Or
better yet, find some new arguments.

 Your try: _____________________________________________________________________________________?

3. The Rhyming Pitch.  (Allow your message to stick when people compare you to  your competitors.)

Pro tip: Don’t rack your brain for rhymes. Go online and find a rhyming dictionary.  I’m partial to RhymeZone (

Your try: ______________________________________________________________________________________.

4. The Subject Line Pitch. (Create a subject line that will get others to open your e-mail or accept your invitation)

Pro tip: Review the subject lines of the last twenty e-mail messages you’ve sent. Note how many of them appeal to either utility or curiosity. If that number is less than ten, re-write each one that fails the test.

Your try: ______________________________________________________________________________________.

5. The Twitter Pitch. (Craft an effective pitch in 120 characters or less.)

Pro tip: Even though Twitter allows 140 characters, limit your pitch to 120 characters so that others can pass it on. Remember: The best pitches are short, sweet, and easy to retweet.

Your try: ______________________________________________________________________________________.

6. The Pixar Pitch.  (Use storytelling, the same formula Pixar used in every succesful Pixar film.)

Pro tip: Read all twenty-two of former Pixar story artist Emma Coats’s story rules:

Your try: Once upon a time ____________________________. Every day, _______________________.

One day ________________________________________. Because of that, _________________________________.

Because of that, __________________________________. Until finally, ___________________________________.

Excerpted from To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others. © 2013 Daniel H. Pink