Doctoral College

Creating an A* Life

Written by Dr Andy Cope from the Art of Brilliance

Most people get stuck in what I call a C+ life. In school report terms, you ‘could do better’ and, for many, life can become a bit mundane. Too many people settle for C+ in the hope that A* will happen at the weekend or next year or when they retire.

The solution is not some rose-tinted Polyanna approach that annoys people and papers over the cracks of reality, but a genuine expectation that today is going to be a fab day because you’re going to choose to be upbeat, passionate and positive. In a spooky Matrix-style psychological shift of mindset, you are more likely to have a fabulous day. You see, ‘happiness’ isn’t actually real, at least not in the sense that you can cart it around in a wheelbarrow. Happiness is a mental construct that you’ve created in your head. And genuinely upbeat, happy folk have certain mental habits that allow them to create more of it.

As a student and/or researcher the chances are you have a ‘to do’ list that’s longer than both arms. Let me guess, you haven’t got enough hours in the day to tick everything on that list? I appreciate that causes you some angst but this article is about something much bigger. Running alongside your ‘to do’ list is your ‘to be’ list. And, in your environment, your ‘to be’ list is everything because it dares you to point the finger back at yourself and ask ‘who am I being while I’m doing the things on my to-do list?’

Am I being worn out by failing to get to grips with SPSS? Or am I being radiant, positive, energetic and full of passion? And, dear reader, one of those will get you a brilliant day and the other will suck the life out of you.

So, the basic message is this: stop waiting for the right person, job or moment (yikes, they might never come!) and learn the basics of how to create more happiness from within. And, if you’re going to have a happier life, you need to put some effort into being your best self – those A*s don’t happen by accident!

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