Five Exercises to Find Happiness and Success
Dr. Srikumar S. Rao, whose creative and personal mastery courses have caught the attention of everyone from ‘The New York Times’ to ‘Time’ to ‘The Wall Street Journal’ to ‘The London Times’, shares five exercises for finding happiness and success
Dr. Srikumar S. Rao, the author of Are You Ready to Succeed? Unconventional Strategies to Achieving Personal Mastery in Business and Life (Hyperion) and Happiness at Work (McGraw-Hill) has been changing lives through his books, courses, engagements, and high-profile media pieces and appearances for years. In his book, Are You Ready to Succeed?, readers learn how to strip down the learned behaviors and mindsets that are holding them back from being happy through exercises that encourage resilience, awareness, and a lack of burden.
Here are a few:
- Do nothing for a half hour.
We all live with mental chatter that can be deafening, keeping us perpetually stressed. Try doing nothing for a half hour: no watching TV, no checking emails, no reading, and even no daydreaming.
- Make a list of what you are grateful for about your job.
Many of us can get caught up feeling miserable at our jobs and completely forget that it has redeeming qualities. Start with the bigger, more obvious things, like being able to pay your mortgage and having health insurance. From there, work your way down to the smaller things, like calling a customer who you enjoy talking to or the fact that the sodas in the vending machine are always really cold.
- Cultivate a new skill for work.
If you have to make cold calls for work and you find that you dread making them, but you love writing, trying working on developing compelling copy and using mass email marketing and other tactics to eliminate something you hate and emphasize something you love. If you don’t like telling the people who work for you that they aren’t pulling their weight, take a course on Socratic questioning.
- Make a tape recording of yourself on a phone call.
We live in a me-centered universe: one in which we think about ourselves first, act in our own best interest, think about the impact that events will have on our own lives, and perceive others from our own view of the world (a businessman might meet a new person and see them as a potential contact; someone who is single might look at everyone they meet as a potential date), rather than as they actually are.
Record your side of a business phone call. When you play it back, listen to how often words like “I” and “me” come up. Challenge yourself to live in an others-centered universe for a week and think about how you can be of service to them, not how they can be of service to you.
- Make a list of all of the people you blame for bad things that have happened to you.
Once you realize that they were all acting in their perceived best interest and were not, in fact, “out to get you”, you can stop blaming people for things that have gone wrong in your life. Everyone wants to be happy and everyone is motivated by that same desire. Most of our perceived injustices are not really anyone’s “fault”. If you were passed over for a job and your colleague was promoted, it is not their fault; you would have taken the same job if it had been offered to you.
Dr. Rao’s books and creative and personal mastery courses have transformed many lives and many people’s outlook on the world. His exercises help quiet mental chatter, increase awareness, eliminate guilt and blame, and encourage happiness right now, wherever you are at in your life, no matter what your job is or what things you are still working towards.
Dr. Rao’s Creative and Personal Mastery Course
Dr. Rao conceived the pioneering course Creativity and Personal Mastery. This is the only business school course that has its own alumni association and it has been extensively covered in the media including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the London Times, theIndependent, Time, the Financial Times, Fortune, Forbes, the Guardian, Business Week, and dozens of other publications.
He has conducted workshops attended by and spoken before executives of Microsoft, Google, Morgan Stanley, American Express, Chubb, IBM, United Airlines, Allstate, Johnson & Johnson, Goldman Sachs, and dozens of others.
Srikumar S. Rao, Ph.D.
Dr. Rao received his Ph.D. in Marketing from the Graduate School of Business, Columbia University. He has been a contributing editor for Forbes and writes regularly on management practices, leadership and about the impact of technology on business processes. He also has written for other national magazines such as Inc., Business 2.0, Hemispheres, Beyond Computing and Training and was a contributing editor for both Financial World and Success. He is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors.
Dr. Rao was an executive with Warner Communications, Continental Group, Data Resources and McGraw-Hill and has consulted with such companies as RCA, Reuters, Citicorp, GTE, Pan Am and Diner’s Club. He has been a seminar leader with the Institute for Management Studies and the American Management Association.
Dr. Rao has regularly taught at top business schools including Columbia Business School, London Business School, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served as a marketing advisor to the national board of MENSA.
Follow Dr. Rao on Twitter @SrikumarSRao.