59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot

A woman’s flattery may inflate a man’s head a little, but her criticism goes straight to his heart, and contracts it so that it can never again hold quite so much love for her.

Buy Experiences Not Goods. Want to buy happiness? Then spend your hard-earned cash on experiences. Go out for a meal. Go to a concert, cinema or theatre. Go on holiday. Go and learn how to pole dance. Go paintballing. Go bungee jumping. In fact, get involved in anything that provides an opportunity to do things with others, and then tell even more people about it afterwards. When it comes to happiness, remember that it is experiences that represent really good value for money.

Buy Experiences, Not Goods. Want to buy happiness? Then spend your hard-earned cash on experiences. Go out for a meal. Go to a concert, movie, or the theater. Go on vacation. Go and learn how to pole dance. Go play paintball. Go bungee jumping. In fact, get involved in anything that provides an opportunity to do things with others, and then tell even more people about it afterward. When it comes to happiness, remember, it is experiences that represent really good value for the money.

compared to individuals, groups tend to be more dogmatic, better able to justify irrational actions, more likely to see their actions as highly moral and have a tendency to form stereotypical views of outsiders.

compared to individuals, groups tend to be more dogmatic, better able to justify irrational actions, more likely to see their actions as highly moral, and more apt to form stereotypical views of outsiders.

Finally, the survey findings also lent a helping hand to those men who wanted to engage in some heartfelt wooing, by identifying the gestures that women view as most, and least, romantic. The top-ten list of gestures is shown below, along with the percentage of women who assigned each gesture maximum marks on the “how romantic is this” scale. Cover her eyes and lead her to a lovely surprise—40 percent Whisk her away somewhere exciting for the weekend—40 percent Write a song or poem about her—28 percent Tell her that she is the most wonderful woman that you have ever met—25 percent Run her a relaxing bath after she has had a bad day at work—22 percent Send her a romantic text or e-mail, or leave a note around the house—22 percent Wake her up with breakfast in bed—22 percent Offer her a coat when she is cold—18 percent Send her a large bouquet of flowers or a box of chocolates at her workplace—16 percent Make her a mix CD of her favorite music—12 percent Interestingly, it seems that gestures that reflect a form of escapism and surprise top the list, followed by those that reflect thoughtfulness, with blatant acts of materialism trailing in last place—scientific evidence, perhaps, that when it comes to romance, it really is the thought that counts.

Happiness doesn't just flow from success; it actually causes it.

if you want to cheer yourself up, behave like a happy person.

In short, when it comes to an instant fix for everyday happiness, certain types of writing have a surprisingly quick and large impact. Expressing gratitude, thinking about a perfect future, and affectionate writing have been scientifically proven to work—and all they require is a pen, a piece of paper, and a few moments of your time.

materialism takes root in early childhood, and is driven mainly by low self-esteem.

materialism takes root in early childhood, and is driven mainly by low self-esteem.26

More than six thousand people reported which sporting activities would make a member of the opposite sex more attractive. Results revealed that 57 percent of women found climbing attractive, making it the sexiest sport from a female perspective. This was closely followed by extreme sports (56 percent), soccer (52 percent), and hiking (51 percent). At the bottom of the list came aerobics and golf, with just 9 percent and 13 percent of the vote, respectively. In contrast, men were most attracted to women who did aerobics (70 percent), followed by those who took yoga (65 percent), and those who went to the gym (64 percent). At the bottom of their list came golf (18 percent), rugby (6 percent), and bodybuilding (5 percent). Women’s choices appeared to reflect the type of psychological qualities that they find attractive, such as bravery and a willingness to take on challenges, while men appeared to be looking for a woman who was physically fit without appearing muscle-bound. No one, it seemed, was attracted to golfers.

researchers discovered that people who have just consumed caffeinated drinks were more likely to be swayed by arguments about various controversial topics.55 In short, good evidence that there really is no such thing as a free lunch or an innocent cup of coffee.

Researchers have speculated that those who fantasize about how wonderful life could be are ill prepared for the setbacks that frequently occur along the rocky road to success, or maybe they enjoy indulging in escapism and so become reluctant to put in the effort required to achieve their goal.

Thanks to our capacity to adapt to ever greater fame and fortune, yesterday’s luxuries can soon become today’s necessities and tomorrow’s relics.”6

The message from this type of work is simple – if you want to cheer yourself up, behave like a happy person.

The message is clear – those who do not feel in control of their lives are less successful, and less psychologically and physically healthy, than those who do feel in control.

The message is clear—those who do not feel in control of their lives are less successful, and less psychologically and physically healthy, than those who do feel in control.

The message is that people are more likely to agree with you when they have already said something positive.

The next time you are trying to be creative in a meeting, gently lean forward and pull against the table. When the going gets tough, cross your arms to help perseverance in the face of failure. If that doesn’t work, lie down. If anyone accuses you of being lazy, quietly explain that you are employing your locus coeruleus in the war against rigid thinking.

The results from both studies clearly indicated that in terms of short- and long-term happiness, buying experiences made people feel better than buying products.

thinking and writing are very different. Thinking can often be somewhat unstructured, disorganized, and even chaotic. In contrast, writing encourages the creation of a story line and structure that help people make sense of what has happened and work toward a solution. In short, talking can add to a sense of confusion, but writing provides a more systematic, solution-based approach.

Thomas Gilovich from Cornell University and his colleagues undertook a series of studies in which they forced people to wear Barry Manilow T-shirts.7

Visualize Yourself Doing, Not Achieving.

We do not love people so much for the good they have done us, as for the good we do them.

When it comes to happiness, remember, it is experiences that represent really good value for the money.

When people can afford necessities in life, an increase in income dones not result in a significantly happier life.

When trying to write your way to a happier life, expressing gratitude is just the tip of the iceberg.

When you gossip about another person, listeners unconsciously associate you with the characteristics you are describing, ultimately leading to those characteristics’ being “transferred” to you. So, say positive and pleasant things about friends and colleagues, and you are seen as a nice person. In contrast, constantly complain about their failings, and people will unconsciously apply the negative traits and incompetence to you.

You know, in this job we really need someone who is responsible.” The man thinks for a moment, then replies, “I am perfect for you. In my last job lots of things went badly wrong, and they always said that I was responsible.