TED: Mind V. Matter

Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work.

In this TED talk, Shawn Achor, CEO of Good Think Inc., explains why positive psychology matters: not the world – but the way you see the world, is the biggest determining factor of how you experience it.

I’m going to repeat that, because it is a paradigm shift – a complete 180 – from how we, in this modern-Western culture, are educated to understand how reality works, and how we work with reality.

The general assumption is that reality, (the external world), shapes and determines our thoughts, feelings, perceptions, ways of understanding and being (our internal world and ourselves).

The truth is the opposite: our thoughts, feelings, and ways of seeing, perceiving and being dramatically shape and determine our external world – that is, so-called reality. It is a veritable Copernican Revolution; and like Copernicus’ Revolution, it is being brought to you today by reason and science. To be sure, it has been expounded by mystics, saints and spiritual teachers for milennia. But what I’m trying to tell you is that today it is also the not-even-cutting-edge truth of Science: Psychology, yes; but the physical sciences, like Biology and Physics, too.

I don’t know how long it took for the Columbus’ generation to start visualizing the planet they were on as round instead of flat; or Copernicus’ generation to stop putting themselves at the center of the heavens and picture the planets, rather, revolving around the Sun. (And I didn’t feel like googling it!) So I don’t know how long it will take for we-the-masses to comprehend Einstein’s equation and re-interpret all matter – including ourselves – as energy; or, to internalize Heinsberg’s Uncertainty Principle to the extent that we stop assuming reality to be independent of the observer and understand, instead, that it is mind-blowingly a product of the observer’s intent.

But things like this, Achor’s talk, will help. Especially because it’s short, sweet and funny. Enjoy.

Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work.