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August 04, 2021

Achieve aims and ambitions in less than a minute

Richard Wiseman, in his recent book, "59 Seconds: Think a little, Change a lot," suggests that we are far more like somebody watching ourselves than somebody in charge of ourselves.

As a result, much of the book seems to be based on the idea that you can trick yourself into being happier and more successful. And effective change doesn’t have to be particularly time consuming, he maintains.

In fact, it can take less than a minute and is often simply a question of knowing exactly where to start.

A simple touch on someone’s upper arm makes them more responsive to requests, for example; forcing your face into a smile and holding the expression for 20 seconds will trick your brain into being happier.

From mood to memory, persuasion to procrastination, Wiseman has brought together hundreds of studies drawn from many different areas of the behavioural sciences. Here’s a taste:

* The best way of getting someone to like you is not to do them a favour, but rather to get them to do you a small favour.

* Buy experiences not goods. Go to a concert, movie, unusual place or strange restaurant: anything that provides an opportunity to do things with others or tell people about it afterwards.

* When going for a job, give your credibility a boost by mentioning any obvious weaknesses towards the start of the interview.

* Next time you attend an important meeting, obtain a quick and easy psychological advantage by sitting in the middle of the group.

* On a date, start lukewarm and then become more positive later; focus on things that you both dislike, and mimic your date's body language.

* To help keep the relationship alive, remember to balance each negative comment with five positive ones.

What do you think? Is meaningful change that easy? Does happiness really involve playing pranks on yourself?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...