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3 Good Things January 31, 2009

Posted by Beth in 3 Good Things, Music.
Tags: ,

I am setting for myself a new task which I hope to turn into a habit. The idea is from Jean Moroney’s Thinking Tips. I was recently reminded of this idea from two sources in close temporal succession: a blog I follow, and the book I was reading for a very special bookclub. That, plus receiving emails and phone calls from friends who are sorely discouraged by recent political and economic events, is motivating me to commit to the effort to add this bit of reflection into my day.

Here is Jean’s description:

3 Good Things

(This tip was originally published in the Thinking Directions Occasional Update on 12/9/07.)

Here’s a daily practice I learned from Martin Seligman, author of Learned Optimism and Authentic Happiness.

Once each day, write down three good things that happened in the last 24 hours. You can write them before going to bed or first thing in the morning. You can write them in a journal or in a calendar or on a Post-it. You can include important achievements such as winning a contract or simple pleasures such as eating a good meal. All that matters is that you write down three such items, every day.

As you can guess, the purpose of this practice is to reinforce a positive outlook and avoid feeling overwhelmed by negativity. Even on the worst of days there are a few bright spots, and bringing them to mind helps you maintain perspective.

Dr. Seligman ran controlled experiments to test the technique. Not only did his subjects report being happier and more optimistic during the studies, but they liked participating so much that they continued writing down three good things each day after the experiment was over.

This little bit of thinking each day has large emotional rewards. Why? Because it strengthens two kinds of value judgments:

1) What you hold as good: Every time you decide consciously that something is good, you reinforce, clarify, and concretize what “good” means.

2) What you hold as important: Important means “entitled to attention or consideration.” When you spend a little time focusing on the good in your life, you are implicitly asserting that the good is what’s important.

Not bad for three minutes of thinking each day.

And now for my first 3 Good Things

1) 3 Ring Binder

I never thought I would make friends on the internet….but I have, and LB over at 3 Ring Binder is one of them.  A mom, an Objectivist, and homeschooler to boot!  Blogging has opened up a whole new world, connecting with people with whom I have things in common, and doing so in a way that is intimate and public at the same time. Blogging is an easel upon which to offer bits of ourselves to whomever will take the time, things that somehow in our busy lives we never get around to expressing., even to those who mean so much to us. A few of my local friends blog, and I love reading their offerings—a deeper glimpse into who they are, expanding my appreciation of their uniqueness and the value they bring to my life. Small but essential gifts toward connection.

2)  Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar

A simple, straight-forward look at what makes us happy, with simple suggestions on how to become even happier. Nothing revolutionary…just like those windshield sun-reflectors: Not very complicated. I could have thought of it…but I didn’t.

The basic tenet is that happiness is not a place where you arrive once and for all, but is a process, and the ultimate reward for successful living. What makes the process most effective is combining current pleasure with long-term, wider meaning. He shows the importance of giving conscious attention to both the details and the big-picture, and how to keep them integrated.

The author mentions some old-time “friends”:  Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, Brandon’s The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem; and he briefly introduces me to some “friends” I hope to get to know better: Golemans’ Emotional Intelligence, Schnarch’s Passionate Marriage.

Overall, a helpful reminder to take time out and think about what is important, and what brings me happiness. And so I will, 3 good things at a time.

3) Joyful excellence in an unexpected place

The clip below I discovered when checking out  3 good things offered by The Little Things (another blog that brings bits of joy to my day.)  While watching and listening, I realized a huge smile had taken over my face. What pleasure to watch such skill and well-earned pride. Then, the coup de grace was the reaction of the audience. Involuntary tears sprung into my eyes as I felt less alone, knowing my astonishment and appreciation were shared so enthusiatically by so many people. I wish you a similar experience.



1. Amy - February 2, 2009

Nice to see another Three Good Thinger! I was unaware of this blog of yours until today. I know about Wealth… but I’m not very interested in economics so I don’t follow closely. Thanks for the kind words here and on my blog.

2. John and Colleen - February 4, 2009

Hi, Beth,

It was really refreshing to view the harmonica player video. Like you, we had big smiles on our faces, and cheered with the audience. Just what we needed as a nice little break in our day today. Thank you so much for adding bits of joy, humor, entertainment, and positive thoughts in this wonderful experience of life. Cheers!

3. New Project « AisA Academy - July 29, 2009

[…] and will provide continued pleasure through repeated viewing. It expands upon the idea of finding 3 good things to balance out the mundane and discouraging parts of […]

4. 3 good things (personal support version) « AisA Academy - April 2, 2010

[…] 3 good things (personal support version) April 2, 2010 Posted by Beth in 3 Good Things. Tags: 3 Good Things trackback I checked in to my own blog today and realized it had been a while since posting here. Only a little over a week in fact, but in many ways it feels like forever. My last post still captures my background mood–mourning over the loss of our healthcare freedom–but it also reminded me of the importance of starting each morning acknowledging at least 3 good things. […]

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