On one of my internet searches I stumbled upon MindValley, an amazing company founded by a fascinating Malaysian-born entrepreneur, Vishen Lakhiani. In a remarkably short period of time his company has become the world’s largest online publishers of leading-edge education on meditation, alternative health, and entrepreneurship. Every day I receive an email from Vishen, with either an article or a video that totally blows me away. He has this remarkable mind that sees things so differently. Today I watched a video called, Why Happiness is the New Productivity, http://bit.ly/1D4cNBZ Vishen says that one of the reasons why he has been such a huge success, so quickly, is that he uses business tools specifically designed to create a company in which the employees are abundantly happy.
Listening to him on this video about how he uses these tools, my mind went to the neurochemistry of being happy and how the neurotransmitters responsible for happiness not only lift our spirits and keep us healthy but also enable us to engage positively with others and make use of our greatest talents. It occurred to me that the same tools he uses in his company (and that he teaches to other companies) can be used in families to help parents and kids feel good, love life, learn easily, behave positively, build self-esteem, achieve great goals and make remarkable things happen.
I have taken 3 of the tools he uses and refashioned them for families. Moms and dads, these tools can produce positive, transformative behavioral and mood changes in yourselves and your children because they will stimulate the healthy, happy chemistry in the brain. To get the benefit from these tools you should integrate these into your family’s life on a consistent basis – not all three tools in one day but at least one tool a day – or every other day. Every now and then is not good enough! It should be built into the family’s way of life. Around the dinner table is a great place for this.
The Awesomeness Report
(‘Awesomeness’ is Vishen’s phrase, not mine). Each member of the family, including mom and dad speaks about an event or incident that happened that day that they thought was ‘awesome’. It is important not to let kids make excuses to avoid offering something ‘awesome’. If necessary, mom or dad can start the ball rolling and set the stage for each child to then take a turn. It does not have to be a huge event – a book they read, a picture they drew, a lesson they enjoyed, something they ate, the flowers at the side of the road. Too often kids get stuck on something negative that happened that day that may have upset them. The goal of this tool is to raise their level of awareness about how awesome life really is.
Each one takes a turn to tell another member of the family that they appreciate something this person did for them – or they can acknowledge and appreciate something that someone outside the family did for them that day. There is often a tendency for us to take for granted the nice things people do. The goal of this tool is to raise your own, and your children’s level of awareness about giving and receiving acts of kindness and how important it is to show appreciation.
Sharing Dreams and Goals
The previous two tools focus on the present. This one focuses on the future. Each one takes a turn to speak about what they dream about for themselves – what they would love to be and do one day. (Important not to let this become a list of material things they want to acquire but rather about who they want to become). The educational system with its emphasis on grades and the daily stress and pressure of life often does not give us time to reflect on our dreams or even speak to each other about this. Having a dream stimulates powerful chemistry. Living without an exciting dream and the chemistry that comes with it, is only half living. The goal of this tool is for each member of the family to envisage and strive for something aspirational, to set bold goals, dream big and to speak about this with passion and excitement – rather than just speaking about plans for getting through each day.
Wiring this into the brain.
These three great tools can make an enormous difference to the way we think and behave. Make a habit of choosing one of these three tools each day (or barest minimum every second day) and, in a fun, relaxed way, encourage the children to get engaged in the activity. I would venture a guess that in a month or 6 weeks, you and the kids will feel and see great results. Once that happens you will not need to integrate these tools so formally into each day – it will have become wired into the way your brain, and their brain functions and will have become a wonderful and natural way of being.
Links that you may find useful:
Letting kids surf YouTube can be scary – you just never know what they get exposed to. My friend and colleague Joanna Liberty alerted me to the fact that the YouTube Kids App is launching today on the Google Play store (http://justjoanna.us6.list-
Did you see these posts on my Facebook page?
Why French kids don’t have ADHD.
Dealing Differently with Childhood Trauma.