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5 Tactics to Improve the Quality of Your Life From Harvard’s Most Popular Course Creator

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Tal Ben-Shahar

Everyone wants to be happy, just ask Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, he’s an expert on the subject. Tal created the most popular courses in Harvard University’s history: Positive Psychology and The Psychology of Leadership. Tal is a best selling author, entrepreneur, and speaker who currently works with groups and companies around the globe on a variety of topics.

As most of us know, it’s not always easy to stay in a happy state. Inevitably things will slow us down, and make us feel burdened or frustrated. Luckily, by using Tal’s tactics he taught to thousands at Harvard, we can maximize the positive and minimize the negative.

Tal recently sat down with The Science of Success and unveiled five key tactics to improve your quality of life that he lives by each day. Check them out below:

1. Awareness

“The best predictor of future behavior, is past behavior”, advises Tal. Think back to a time when you were truly leading a happy life engaged in meaningful experiences. What were you doing? Who were you doing it with? Using past reflection, identify what it was that caused these moments to be so great, then ask “How can I have more of it?” Cultivate an active willingness and desire to replicate these good experiences.

2. Relationships

Can you guess which countries are the happiest in the world according to the UN? The answers are Denmark, Australia, Colombia, Israel, and Holland. While some of these you might expect, places such as Israel and Columbia may come as a surprise.

So why are these countries ranked as the happiest? Relationships. Tal explains that, “In each of these countries there is a real importance, encouragement, and emphasis on establishing and cultivating intimate and healthy social networks.” It can come from various places such as religious organizations, sports, or clubs. Nonetheless, in each study an emphasis was found on cultivating meaningful relationships having a direct link to happiness. Go in search of likeminded individuals who share your passions and hobbies and get involved.

“Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.” – Swedish Proverb

3. Physical Activity

Keeping your body moving is not only a great way to cultivate physical health, but mental health as well. Tal recommends “regular exercise for at least 30 minutes, three times a week.” Aside from helping prevent chronic disease and improve physical health, exercise releases norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine in the brain.

These chemicals put your brain in a happy state and help you stay there longer, free of side effects! Dust off that bike, put on some tennis shoes, take that yoga class, and get your body moving at least 90 minutes a week. Your brain (and body) will thank you.

4. Learn From Failure

Cultivate a growth mindset when it comes to failure. We all are unhappy when we fail notes Tal, “but there are two very different kinds of responses. One is “This is awful. This is terrible. Now I’m never going to succeed and I’m a failure.” OR “Okay, I failed. It’s not pleasant, not fun, but what can I learn from it? How can I move forward? How can I go ahead wiser from this experience?”

Everyone in life will fail now and again, and often our failures are the most enlightening experiences. Some of history’s smartest and most successful people can attest to this. It’s the ability to emerge smarter and wiser from the experience that separates those who find success and those who bury themselves in negativity.

“Remember your dreams and fight for them. You must know what you want from life. There is just one thing that makes your dream become impossible: the fear of failure.” – Paulo Coelho

5. Don’t Expect To Always Be Happy

As Tal likes to say, “there are only two kinds of people who do not experience painful emotions…the first are psychopaths, and the second are dead people.” If you expect to always be happy then you are saying it’s OK to punish yourself when you feel negative emotions.

Paradoxically, by accepting these negative or painful emotions you are allowing yourself to let them pass. By fighting them, we only keep them in our focus longer. So embrace you feeling these emotions because, after all, that means you’re not a psychopath and that you’re alive!

What did you think of Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar advice? Please comment below!

Matt Bodnar, named a “Rising Restaurateur Star” by the National Restaurant Association and a “Strategy Pro” by Restaurant Hospitality Magazine, is a partner at an early stage investment firm Fresh Hospitality where he focuses on deal making and strategy. Bodnar is also the creator and host of "The Science of Success" a #1 New & Noteworthy podcast, with more than 1 Million+ downloads, focused on improving decision-making, understanding psychology, and sharing insights from experts. Bodnar previously worked as an import/export consultant in Nanjing, China and spent several years at Goldman Sachs before returning to his family roots in the hospitality space.

Life

5 Ways To Invest In Yourself and Change Your Life

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Warren Buffett once said, the best investment you can ever make is in yourself. Time and money spent on bettering yourself are never considered a waste. Whether it’s through learning how to make money online, exploring new ways to increase your financial security, or watching TED talks to expand your knowledge. Do not be stingy when it comes to self-improvement because it will definitely pay off in the end. 

Need some ideas to get started on your journey to becoming a better you? Here are 5 ways to invest in yourself and transform your life. 

1. Change Your Self-Concept

Having a negative self-concept can have a tremendous impact on your life. Limiting beliefs and self-doubt are some of the main reasons why many never achieve or attempt to pursue their dreams. Take a moment and think about all the negative thoughts you have repeated to yourself throughout your life. How have these thoughts impacted the way you live life? From now on, create a new self-image by turning these negative thoughts into positive ones and appreciate your good qualities. 

2. Sign Up For An Online Course

If you’ve been wanting to brush up on your Photoshop skills or learn how to code professionally, this is the perfect time to get started. As long as you have a stable internet connection, you can access an endless amount of valuable information online. For example, sites like Coursera and Youtube are both awesome resources for online learning. With a few search strings and clicks, you can find all the information you need. 

“Investing in yourself is the best investment you can make. It will not only improve your life, it will improve the lives of all those around you.” – Robin Sharma

3. Learn From a Mentor

No matter which stage of your life you are currently in, working with a mentor can help you stay motivated and focused on your goals. Not only can they guide you in the right direction, but also transform your vision, provide you with new insights, and connect you with amazing resources. If you’re feeling unmotivated or unsure about what you want to do in life, consider finding a mentor to help you navigate this process. 

4. Start A Side Hustle

The salary from a 9-5 job would rarely allow you to reach your maximum income potential. Why not achieve financial success while pursuing your passion by starting a side hustle? Whether it’s through starting an ecommerce business, freelance writing on the side, or starting a Youtube channel. There are infinite numbers of ways to make money, and there is bound to be one out there that fits your passion and skills. 

5. Nourish Your Body

As many may say, “health is the new wealth”. Without a healthy and functioning body, living a fulfilling and comfortable life becomes difficult. To take care of your body and prioritize your wellbeing, start with small habits such as eating healthier foods and exercising regularly. Bike or walk to work instead of taking the car, and opt for a healthy protein bowl instead of greasy burgers at Burger King. With time, these small habits can make an incredible difference.

Check out the infographic below, to see more ways you can invest in yourself:

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Life

How to Turn Inward and Detox Your Mind

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When we are overwhelmed by confusion, our psyche tries to establish certainty to alleviate our discomfort. This is usually accomplished by mentally imagining and acting out a plot. Unfortunately, much of the time, we mentally visualize pessimistic (or worst-case scenario) scenarios to provide certainty. (more…)

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12 Things to Give Up if You Want to Be Productive

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It’s almost euphoric, the feeling of ticking away boxes on the to-do list, at the end of a long day. It’s like you have seized the day or something. With cell phones buzzing every minute with notifications or ringing with a large number of versatile options, it can be hard to maintain focus on your work, and be productive. Luckily with a little determination and following some tips, you can be productive, provided you either cut down on certain things or give them up altogether. (more…)

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Life

5 Tips to Stop the Snowball Effect of Negative Thinking

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Humans are full of complex emotions, but it’s what makes us us. We go through good times and tough times and still keep our heads held high. Life is all about experiencing different things and making memories. Constant change and new experiences are what keep us growing as a person. However, sometimes when we face hardship, it can be hard to move on from it. (more…)

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