Sociologists, therapists, and psychiatrists have spent entire careers investigating the ins and outs of health, success, and happiness, but their findings are inaccessible to ordinary people, hidden in obscure journals seen only by other experts.
Now David Niven, the international bestselling author of the Simple Secrets series, has collected the most current and significant data from more than a thousand of the best scientific studies on three of the most important aspects of our daily lives. Niven has boiled these findings down to sound, succinct advice for each day of the year, presenting 365 essential ways to find and maintain health, wealth, and wisdom. Each entry is accompanied by a true story showing the results in action. Whether you want to enhance your body, your bank account, your IQ, or all three, this bestselling series offers 365 essential ways to let science help you.
About the Author
David Niven, Ph.D., bestselling author of the 100 Simple Secrets series, is a psychologist and social scientist who teaches at Ohio State University.
David Niven, Ph.D., es el autor de los bestsellers internacionales Los 100 Secretos de la Gente Exitosa, y Los 100 Secretos de las Buenas Relaciones. Es psicólogo y científico social, y enseña en la Florida Atlantic University.
Read an Excerpt
The Simple Secrets for Becoming Healthy, Wealthy, and WiseWhat Scientists Have Learned and How You Can Use It
By David Niven
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2006 David Niven
All right reserved.
Motivation Beats Everything
Lack of motivation is a handicap that can stifle a person's potential regardless of their strengths. If you do not want something, it simply does not matter how talented you are. Understand that motivation is the biggest asset you possess in pursuing your future.
Sam worked in the kitchen washing dishes at a restaurant in Fresno, California. It was undeniably the worst job in the place. "It was backbreaking work in unbelievable heat. The pace was always hectic, and when the dinner rush finally slowed, you had to face the pots and pans," Sam says.
Although only a teenager, Sam thought about the things he would do differently if he ran the restaurant. "The tile floor would get slippery as the night wore on, and we were always trying to come up with ways to keep the waiters from falling down, 'cause if they fell down, it was the dishwashers who had to clean it up," he recalls.
It was only a dream at the time--but little by little he saved what he could. He moved up step-by-step through restaurant jobs until he was running the kitchen. Twenty years after he started as a dishwasher, he opened his first restaurant, and within a few years he had four locations.
Sam, who won an award forthe success of his restaurants, credits his outlook for his success: "It would not be possible without hard work, but it would not be possible without believing in it. If I didn't believe, I never would have saved. I never would have learned everything I could about the business. If you have persistence and confidence, you have a bright future."
Researchers found that the future career earnings of schoolchildren were four times more strongly influenced by personal motivation than by any other factor. (Russell and Atwater 2005)
Be Happy to Succeed
We all think we would be happy if we were a success. But happiness is far less dependent on objective measures of success than success is dependent on happiness. A positive approach precedes a positive outcome.
"A law firm can be a pretty high-stress place," Mike admits. The cofounder of a midsize Indianapolis firm, Mike, together with his partners, committed to a different vision of a law firm from day one.
"We thought you could build a law firm based on the belief that everyone should still have a life," Mike says. No one is expected to make a habit of working late nights or on weekends. Everyone is expected to take the occasional afternoon off to see their child's class play or Little League game. The rules apply equally to the most senior partner and the most junior office assistant.
"You start talking about these things, and some people think this is a firm for slackers," Mike says. "But we're talking about facilitating excellence, not impeding it. We've found that a human approach makes our staff happier, which makes their efforts more sustainable. The great secret here is that we actually expect more of our people, and we get it. Because even though you can get people to work hard under threat and toil, you'll never get them to work their best that way."
Researchers have found that happy individuals are 73 percent more likely to go on to experience positive outcomes in both their career and their personal life. (Lyubomirsky, King, and Diener 2005)
Give Yourself Time
There isn't enough time in the day. We rush around from one thing to the next, not stopping until the day is over. One of the easiest things to cut out of the day to save time is a moment for ourselves. But time spent quietly alone is not a luxury. It is an important component of how we function. Give yourself time to sit, to think, to feel, every single day.
Told to shut his eyes and shake his body vigorously, with his limbs gyrating like rubber bands, Kevin began to reconsider whether he should have signed up. "Is this guy for real?" wondered the New York City firefighter as he began Dr. Jim Gordon's program of meditation, yoga, and alternative healing therapies designed to help firefighters deal with the emotional stress of the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.
The workshop was taking place not long after the end of the nine-month cleanup of human remains and debris from the World Trade Center. Kevin meditates and "shakes" stress away nearly every day. "It really calms you down," says Kevin, who is helping Dr. Gordon launch an ongoing program for city firefighters. But how do you get a firefighter to stretch out on a mat in a yoga pose, meditate to soft music, or learn to breathe steadily--practices initially deemed "ridiculous and crazy" by most first-timers, according to Dr. Gordon. "What we do is, we say, 'Look, you're practical people. Try it for yourselves and see if it makes a difference,'" Dr. Gordon says.
Kevin wants to recruit more of his colleagues to Dr. Gordon's program by explaining to them that it is an independent type of therapy that should appeal to tough-minded firefighters such as themselves. "It's just basic things that you can do to help yourself," Kevin adds.
Researchers found that people who meditated regularly had higher levels of disease-fighting antibodies.(University of Wisconsin 2003)
Excerpted from The Simple Secrets for Becoming Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise by David Niven Copyright © 2006 by David Niven. Excerpted by permission.
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