With the release of his first book, The Book of Awesome, Neil Pasricha quickly became a spokesperson for positivity, happiness, and intentional living. Outside of the public eye though was a different story. Working too much, sleeping too little — his life was spinning out of control. Knowing things had to change, Neil re-thought his morning routine to bring more focus and a lot more joy to his day.
I Will Focus On…
At first, Neil thought he was suffering from decision fatigue. His to-do list was a mile high! So, he began to write down a couple things on a blank index card every morning that he would focus that day. This helped him determine what he “would” do that day, vs. “could” or “should” do.
“I will focus on…” helped him escape the endless fog of his to-do list. Instead, big projects were broken down into simple tasks and everyday he set himself to feel like he accomplished something. Neil writes: “A looming book deadline became ‘write 500 words’, an all-hands meeting about a major redesign became ‘send invite to three execs for feedback,’ and my nonexistent exercise regime became ‘go for a 10-minute walk at lunch.’”
This helped him reduce his decision fatigue and bring more structure to his day, but he still felt too focused on the negative in his life.
I Am Grateful For…
That wasn’t Neil’s fault though. Humans are hard-wired for negativity. Our evolutionary programming of “fight or flight” has us constantly looking for problems, which makes us ripe for exploitation — we want to stare at bad news endlessly. Unfortunately, our news media and social media feed into that constantly.
Neil wanted to combat this. He read in a study that people who write down gratitudes vs. hassles are not only happier but physically healthier. So, each day on the back of his index card he now also wrote “I am grateful for…”
Neil writes: “The key is that they really need to be specific. Writing down things like ‘my apartment, my mom, and my job’ over and over doesn’t do anything. I had to write down things like, ‘the way the sunset looks over the purple hostel across the street,’ or ‘when my mom dropped off leftover chicken biryani,’ or ‘having egg salad sandwiches in the cafeteria today with Agostino.’”
Focused and grateful, Neil still found that he was holding on to too much stress. So he added one more like to his daily index card.
I Will Let Go of…
Neil read in a magazine that minimizing regrets as we age increases our feeling of contentment in life. If we share our worries, we are more likely to rid ourselves of them.
This last line allowed Neil to release some of the tensions he was carrying everyday. He writes: “I will let go of… the rude email I sent last night at 11 p.m. I will let go of… showing up late to the meeting with the boss. I will let go of … comparing myself to Tim Ferriss.”
I will let go of…
I am grateful for…
I will focus on…
Neil credits this two-minute exercise for bringing balance back into his life, calling the difference it has made in his life “incredible”. It primes our brains for positivity at the start of our day.
Is Neil completely cured now? Always happy? No, he says, but the quality of his life has drastically improved than those days spent constantly worried, stressed, and exhausted.
Read more from Neil about his two-minute morning practice.
A Harvard MBA, New York Times bestselling author, award-winning blogger, and one of the most popular keynote speakers in the world, Neil Pasricha draws on the latest research in happiness to help audiences increase performance and create a more positive and productive workplace.
Interested in learning more about Neil and what he can bring to your next event? Email us at [email protected].