Do This One Thing Everyday For A Better Life. Guaranteed.

Not long ago, I met with a young man in his late 20’s who told me that “things just don’t work out for him”. He had lost his father years before in a tragic car accident. He struggled to find a career path that excited him. And love always seemed to elude him.

He watched as his friends and family members all seemed to move forward in life, yet he was left further and further behind. He detailed for me a number of grievances he had about his circumstances.

As he talked on, it became absolutely clear in my mind what my young friend’s struggle was. He wasn’t simply unlucky or doomed in life. He was, however, in very short supply of a particular state of mind that has been proven to have transformative power in multiple areas of our lives:

 GRATITUDE

If you’re thinking that I’m being cheesy or a little too “Pollyanna” about this – please hear me out. There is a scientific foundation for what I’m saying.

Psychologist Robert Emmons has been researching gratitude from a scientific perspective for over 15 years. The following is a list of benefits that have been linked to increased levels of gratitude:

  • Improved physical, emotional, and social well-being
  • Greater optimism and happiness
  • Improved feelings of connection in times of loss or crises
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Heightened energy levels
  • Strengthened heart, immune system and decreased blood pressure
  • Improved emotional and academic intelligence
  • Expanded capacity for forgiveness
  • Decreased stress, anxiety, depression, and headaches
  • Improved self-care and greater likelihood to exercise
  • Heightened spirituality – ability to see something bigger than ourselves

Who wouldn‘t like to receive those kind of benefits? In fact, many of the items on that list can, in and of themselves, yield life-changing benefits, and gratitude can be the very source of all of them!

Does that seem to good to be true?

Think about this logically. When you experience feelings of gratitude, doesn’t it seem like there are endless, abundant opportunities ahead of you? Compare that to times when you experience those “woe-is-me” moments. A negative mindset leaves you feeling scarcity—like you’ll never have enough—or that even if you try, you’ll probably just fail.

When teaching Color Code Workshops, I talk about the strengths and limitations of each of the Color Code personality styles. One limitation that is common for Blues to struggle with is that of being worry-prone, whereas a common strength of the Yellows is to be optimistic.

Think about the difference there. If you are worry-prone, your mind is in a “negative goal setting” mode, but when you’re optimistic, you have the feeling that you can find a “silver lining” and a way to land on your feet. You activate your brain to find solutions as opposed to preparing for failure.

Gratitude, like optimism, is a state of mind, and you can adopt an “attitude of gratitude” and gain the power to transform your life in multiple ways for free.

One of the most common ways of doing this is by keeping a gratitude journal. Record three to five experiences that happened to you during the course of your day that you are grateful for.

Let yourself visualize the experience again and feel and think through all of the implications of the life lessons you learned from those moments.If that sounds too easy to be effective, consider this:

Research shows that recording daily experiences for which you are grateful for only two consecutive weeks can result in positive effects sustained for up to six months. So be careful not to dismiss the idea of keeping a basic gratitude journal as being too simple.

Sometimes the simplest solutions are the most powerful ones.

There are many other ways to practice gratitude. Some pray to give thanks. Others have taken it upon themselves to write thank you cards daily. Others meditate and focus on being mindful of their feelings of gratitude.

I invite you to conduct an experiment of gratitude in your own life. Take from these ideas, or develop your own. The promise that I left my downtrodden, young friend is the same that I’ll extend to you. It is that as you increase the amount of gratitude you experience on a daily basis, you will begin to change and transform your entire life!

 

Jeremy DanielJeremy Daniel is the Vice President of Training for Color Code. He leads our Trainer Certification Program and has been teaching the Color Code and delivering motive-based applications to clients internationally since 1998.

Harvard Study Finds Relationships Have Incredibly Powerful Effect on Our Health & Happiness

Here at Color Code we teach that life is all about relationships. Our main goal as a company is to help people understand themselves and others on a deeper level so they can improve both their personal and professional relationships. We’ve seen marriages saved, businesses prosper, families improve, etc., etc., all because people took the time to put an effort into building their emotional intelligence and relationship skills.

With that said, you can imagine how we love research that further validates the importance of what we do. Today, we thought we’d share with our readers one study we find particularly fascinating and encouraging.

Because this isn’t just any study–it’s one of the most important studies ever done on health and happiness, and the results might surprise you.

The study we’re referring to is called The Grant Study and began at Harvard University just shy of 80 years ago and continues to this day. It started in 1938 with scientists tracking the health of 268 Harvard Sophomores. They hoped the longitudinal study would reveal clues leading to healthy and happy lives.

The study has followed these 268 men throughout their lives and measures an astonishing range of psychological, anthropological, and physical traits—from personality type to IQ to drinking habits to family relationships to body type to so much more—in an effort to determine what factors contribute most strongly to human flourishing.

Of course we don’t have time to go into all the details of this extensive study but if you’re interested, you can read more by clicking the links we provided below.

However, what we quickly wanted to share with you today are some excerpts and quotes from articles written on study’s findings.

We hope this will inspire you to continue in your efforts to foster healthy relationships. Because, as it turns out, your health and happiness could depend on it… read more below to see what we mean.

The following quotes are from Robert Waldinger, current director of the study, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

 “The surprising finding is that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health.”
“Taking care of your body is important, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too. That, I think, is the revelation.”

The most recent article written on the Harvard study results, site Waldinger with the following comments:

“It turns out, that close relationships, more than money or fame, are what keep people happy throughout their lives, the study revealed. Those ties protect people from life’s discontents, help to delay mental and physical decline, and are better predictors of long and happy lives than social class, IQ, or even genes. That finding proved true across the board among both the Harvard men and the inner-city participants.”
“The researchers also found that marital satisfaction has a protective effect on people’s mental health.”
“Those who kept warm relationships got to live longer and happier and the loners often died earlier.”
“Loneliness kills,” he said. “It’s as powerful as smoking or alcoholism.”

And lastly, these final two excerpts are in reference to  what George Vaillant, former director of The Grant Study, author of Triumphs of Experience: The Men of The Harvard Grant Study, and many other books, has said about what the study has taught us.

“It is social aptitude not intellectual brilliance or parental social class, that leads to successful aging.” 
“When the study began, nobody cared about empathy or attachment. But the key to healthy aging is relationships, relationships, relationships”. 

So there you have it! After 80 years of study and still going, scientists are more certain than ever that good relationships play a significant factor in our physical and mental health.

Thanks for stopping by our blog and best of luck to you all in your pursuit of health and happiness!

–The Color Code Team

LINKS:

Over nearly 80 years, Harvard study has been showing how to live a healthy and happy life

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/06/what-makes-us-happy/307439/

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/05/thanks-mom/309287/

The White Personality Type is Your Best Friend, and You Didn’t Even Know It!

My focus with Color Code has always been in the work and team-setting.  In every Color Code workshop or keynote speech I deliver, I share what each color brings to the team.  Everyone expects it when I say that “Red brings action,” “Blue brings the heart and quality,” “Yellow brings creativity and optimism,” but there is often a moment of surprise when I say, “The White type is your best friend.

Your best friend is that person who has your back.  They are the rare person in your life who will protect you from yourself.  With that definition of “best friend,” the White personality type is the one best equipped to protect you from yourself if you’re one of the other colors.  Although you may have to encourage them to step up and speak more often to get this benefit.  Let’s walk through each one…

Reds – The Red can often get in its own way by taking action too quickly.  They might begin taking action before finding out if others are ready.  They are notorious for taking action prior to acquiring all necessary information.  When this happens, Blues get frustrated that the Reds are “taking over,” and Yellows will often just follow along with the Red because they like the quick pace.  It’s the healthy White personality type who has the potential of calmly reaching out to the Red, asking them to slow down and then with a logical approach, explain the need for a different course.  It’s the logic that’s the key for the Red.  Plus the Red rarely feels threatened by the White, they know the White doesn’t want to be in charge.

Blues – The Blue type is most prone to fall into the “what if” cycle where they get caught up in asking “what if this goes wrong” and “what if that goes wrong.”  The problem here, is that the Blue will often focus only on what might go wrong.  When this happens, the Red type just gets annoyed and desperately wants to just say something to the effect of “quit your whining and get to work!” The Yellow also gets annoyed with the “what if” cycle and jumps ship.  It’s the White who is most naturally suited to reaching the Blue type.  The healthy White type will offer the Blue a rational response to each of the “what ifs” and then add potential positive outcomes as well.  It is the balanced, rational analysis that makes the difference for the Blue.

Yellows – The Yellow type is prone to follow the bright, shiny object at work.  What I mean by this, is that they are most likely to focus on what’s in front of them, and what interrupts them as opposed to what’s important.  They don’t naturally have the discipline to analyze before acting, which often results in Yellows doing a lot of work, without actually being effectively productive.  When this happens, Reds get frustrated and want to say to the Yellow “quit wasting time and being stupid, that’s not important.”  Blues will get frustrated and just worry about how the Yellow is “ruining everything and now it’s a disaster.”  Yellows will get demoralized by both the Red and Blue here. It is the White type who is once again most naturally suited to bridging the gap.   The White type is able to begin a conversation with the Yellow (and here’s the key) without judgment and without anger, help the Yellow focus on the most important, and then make a plan.  

It should be stated that charactered Reds, Blues, and Yellows will probably have all learned to do this on their own, and that charactered Reds, Blues, and Yellows also have the ability to reach out to each other; but this piece explains how the White type can be there for them when they’re struggling.  It’s about how their natural behaviors are most suited to mitigating the weaknesses of the other colors.

If you’re a Red, Blue, or Yellow, look around at your work team.  Find the White personality type and encourage them to speak up.  Make it a habit to ask for their perspective.  This could be a real difference-maker for your work teams.

About the author:

Derek R. Pangelinan is 31% Red, 27% Blue, 27% Yellow, and 15% White. He has been a public speaker for more than 25 years and has spent the last 19 years in the retail industry, the majority of that time in leadership and leadership development.  In his leadership development role, Derek spent countess hours speaking in front of others as a facilitator and a speaker on the topics of leadership development, trust, accountability, workplace engagement, customer service, and many other topics.  In this same role, he trained many other leaders to be better speakers. Derek has used Color Code as an integral part of his trainings for well over a decade. For more info, check out: Derek Rey Consulting, LLC