Happiness Advantage Principle #3 Tetris Effect
Principle #3 The Tetris Effect
author: Shawn Achor; these are my notes to get a quicker read of the amazing book “The Happiness Advantage”
Training your brain to capitalize on possibility via the Tetris Effect.
The Tetris effect stems from a very normal physical process that repeated playing triggers in their brains. They become stuck in something called a “cognitive afterimage”. You know those blue or green dots that cloud your vision for a few seconds after someone takes a flash photograph of you? This happens because the flash has momentarily burned an image onto your visual field so that as you look around the world. You see that same light pattern-that afterimage-everywhere.
The Tetris effect at work
Everyone knows someone stuck in some version of the Tetris Effect-someone who is unable to break a pattern of thinking or behaving. Whether it is a friend who always find something to complain about. Or the boss who always focuses on what an employee continues to do wrong. Or the colleague who predicts doom before every meeting. The essence of the Negative Tetris Effect: a cognitive pattern that decreases our overall success rates.
The goal of a Positive Tetris Effect: Instead of creating a cognitive pattern that looks for negatives and blocks success. It trains our brains to scan the world for the opportunities and ideas that allow our success rate to grow.
The Power of a Positive Tetris Effect
When our brains constantly scan for and focus on the positive. We profit from three of the most important tools available to us: happiness, gratitude and optimism.
The role happiness plays should be obvious-the more you pick up on the positive around you, the better you’ll feel-and we’ve already seen the advantages to performance that brings. Countless studies have shown that consistently grateful people are more energetic, emotionally intelligent, forgiving and less likely to be depressed, anxious, or lonely. And optimism is good because the more your brain picks up on the positive, the more you’ll expect this trend to continue, and so the more optimistic you’ll become.
Getting stuck in a Positive Tetris Effect
The best way to kick-start this is to start making a list of the good things in your job, your career, and your life. It may sound hokey, or ridiculously simple-and indeed the activity itself is simple, but over a decade of empirical studies has proven the profound effect it has on the way our brains are wired. When you write down a list of “three good things” that happened that day, your brain will be forced to scan the last 24 hours for potential positives-things that brought small or large laughs, feelings of accomplishment at work, a strengthened connection with family, a glimmer of hope for the future. In just five minutes a day, this trains the brain to become more skilled at noticing and focusing on possibilities for personal and professional growth, and seizing opportunities to act on them.
The question is won’t i be blind to real problems? In the first place it is good to look at the world through Rose-Tinted Glasses. What is not good is irrational optimism or to grossly overestimate your abilities. There are times when pessimism keeps you from doing foolish things, so the key is to be reasonable, realistic with a healthy sense of optimism.