Thinking Smarter By Design: What I Wish I’d Learned At School

Thinking smarter by design isn’t something available only to those who have bought a Gold Class ticket. We have all been endowed with a magnificent brain that is capable of so much, if only we took a bit more time to read the instruction manual to know what helps us to truly flourish.

Building better brain health to elevate our mental performance is something we can all work towards IF we’re willing to put in the hard yards and work required using our neuroplasticity, the brain’s natural ability to create new and strengthen existing synaptic connections.

But at a time when stress is the most commonly cited challenge people face on a daily basis, where there is an increasing societal burden of mental health disorders including anxiety and depression and a rapidly ageing population at risk of cognitive decline or dementia, YESTERDAY was the ideal time to start working on creating a stronger, more resilient and adaptive brain for our rapidly changing world.

There’s a growing hunger for help to move away from that sense of overwhelm, fatigue and stress towards knowing what it takes to enjoy a happier, more meaningful existence where you have a greater sense of purpose and know that you are making a difference in some small way for the betterment of others and the planet.

This is where wellness and better brain health comes to the fore, because it works.

A recent article in the New York Times reported how one course currently on offer at Yale in the U.S. is the most popular course in the whole of its 316 year history.

One thousand, one hundred and eighty-two students have enrolled so far, nearly one quarter of the college cohort.

Why?

Is it that the course looks easy, so little effort will be needed to pass the tests, quizzes, midterm exam and personal project at the end of the semester?

Is it peer pressure, because if all your friends have signed up, you don’t want to be seen as the “uncool” one?

Or it is what the course is all about– what it takes to lead a flourishing life?

The course Psych 157, Psychology and the Good Life is taught by Professor Santos whose objective is to teach the students how to lead happier, more satisfying lives and shift the undergraduate culture.

Science has revealed we don’t gain enduring happiness by winning the Lottery or landing a highly prestigious job with a massive pay-check.

Judging by the course’s unprecedented popularity, the ideas have clearly struck a chord.

But of course, it’s not just college students who yearn for a better, happier life.

This is a universal desire and begs the question,

What if Psychology and The Good Life was on offer in every school and tertiary institution?

What if these ideas were being taught in every workplace?

What difference would that make on a societal level to the level of commitment, discretionary effort and reward experienced when working hard for something you believe in because it’s for the greater good?

Happiness derives from having purpose, meaning and witnessing the results of our efforts.

The rise and rise of Positive Psychology has shown that when the concepts of gratitude, relatedness and empathy are introduced into schools and workplaces, productivity and performance rise. That’s why the great work being undertaken by the Positivity Institute headed by the marvellous Dr. Suzy Green, the Positive Psychology Institute and others is making such a difference.

Positive Psychology is the yeast factor that raises everyone’s contribution, confidence and capability.

That’s why taking back control and putting in the hard yards for smarter thinking by design to achieve greater Happiness@work and Happiness@life starts here.