The Habit Society

⚡️ Let’s fall up

To: Society Members

Good Morning!

Hey! We did something fun last week. We sat down with Alayna West and Jessie Sousa, hosts of the Positively Happier podcast to speak about… you guessed it, habits. For Spotify users, listen here and for the loyal Apple users, listen here. Keep readin’ for our insightful interview with these lovely ladies or check out the full thing here.



Falling Up

This morning, I’d like to share with you a little tale I’ve recently come across:

In the 1900s, two shoe salesmen went to Africa to do some R&D. After just days of research, they reported back to their boss on their findings. One proclaimed in sorrow that the situation was hopeless—they don’t wear shoes in Africa! The other proclaimed with cheeriness what a glorious opportunity there was—they don’t wear shoes yet!

Today, I will take you through the three possible outlooks on negative situations and finding the path up.

Let’s get right into it. When something bad happens, there are three options you can take. To walk you through them, let’s use the all-too-familiar scenario of screwing up a company-wide presentation.

Option 1: You ignore the event and you don’t make a change for future presentations.

Option 2: You end up in a worse situation by blaming your co-workers or the Zoom lag for your mistake.

And drum roll please…

Option 3: You end up in a better situationstronger and more resilient by taking a good hard look at the mistakes you made and using them to improve on your future presentations. Author of The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor, calls this the Third Path: using failure as an opportunity for growth.

This lesson is something our mothers and fathers have been telling us since we were playing with Tamagotchis. But surprisingly, even the most ingrained pearls of wisdom are the ones no one listens to. People tend to fall into options 1 and 2 far more often than the 3rd.

Achor explains, “If we conceive of a fall as the worst thing in the world, it becomes just that.” {{ first_name|default:” }}, let’s fall up, not down.


How Do I Find the Path Up?

One way is by creating a counterfact to your experience which Achor explains as an alternate scenario our brains create to help us evaluate the severity of the situation. In other words, come up with a worse situation that could have happened so that you feel grateful for the one that did. Here’s an example:

Event: A bird emptied out on my new shoes.

Perceived Severity: For lack of better terms, pretty shitty.

Counterfact: The bird empties on my face.

New severity of real event: Mild

See what I mean? The counterfact is having been hit in the face, so instead of feeling pissed off for the rest of your day, you will be grateful because the outcome could have been worse.

This can be translated to just about any problem or misfortune you encounter. Got rear-ended? We can be grateful that it was not a dangerous car accident. Spilled your smoothie on your white shirt? Good thing you’re still home and can change! Screwed up a work presentation? At least it wasn’t at the quarterly company-wide meetings.

The Interview

As promised, here it is.

These awesome women are on a quest to find what makes humans happy. Even though they would describe themselves as naturally happy people, having a happier baseline is something that most people need to habitually cultivate. In their initial research, they found that happiness often boils down to four main things:

1. Close relationships

2. Job fulfillment/passion for hobby

3. Helping others

4. Health

Listening to what makes other people happy has been the best part of this podcast. Hearing our guests speak about their passions is really exciting and makes me want to try new things. It’s been really fun putting on our detective hats to investigate what makes other people happy and try to apply some of what we learn to our own lives.

What are your top 3 happiness habits and why are they actually effective?

1. Gratitude: Writing down 3-5 very specific things (key = specificity) that you are grateful for every day.

Why: We’ve found that practicing gratitude is the biggest contributor to positivity. Most people are generally grateful for specific things in their life, but the act of practicing gratitude tends to embed a positive mindset into each day.

2. Journaling: Prompted and free writing journaling.

Why: Even if you’ve had a difficult day, journaling out your feelings and being called to write out some of the more positive aspects of your day will help change your mindset from focusing on the negative to the positive by consciously thinking about the positive and happy moments in your day.

3. Boundaries: Setting solid boundaries and taking time for yourself.

Why: During this pandemic, work/family/play have melded together for many people. It’s now more important than ever to carve out a bit of time for yourself to do something that makes you happy. This has made a big positive impact in our own lives.

Read: Our full interview

Listen: THS on the Positively Happier podcast


By scanning our mental map for positive opportunities, and by rejecting the belief that every down in life leads us only further downward, we give ourselves the greatest power possible: the ability to move up not despite the setback, but because of them.

– Shawn Achor


Share & Earn: Don’t forget to share your unique referral link to earn rewards like a personalized habit plan and a THS sweater.

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