Standing at the bottom of a steep hill, a person will perceive the angle to be 20-30% steeper when they’re alone than when they’re with a friend. (“Social support and the perception of geographical slant” published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.)

What does that tell us? Well, it tells us that things become easier when we “climb” together.

The authors of the study hypothesized that having a trusted friend nearby, helps people to see challenges in their surroundings as easier to navigate.

According to Shawn Achor, one of the world’s leading experts on the connection between happiness and success, this is true for almost every dimension of human potential: Happiness, performance, intelligence, creativity, leadership ability and health are all influenced by the people around us.

In his book “Big Potential – How transforming the pursuit of success raises our achievement, happiness and well-being,” Achor, writes that our potential is not limited by what we can achieve alone.

“Instead,” he says, “it is determined by how we complement, contribute to, and benefit from the abilities and achievements of people around us” and concludes that when we help others become better, we reach new levels of potential, as well.”

Society has taught us wrong. Chasing individual achievement doesn’t make us more successful, and it definitely doesn’t make us happier. Success and happiness depend almost entirely on how well we connect with and learn from each other.

So forget about potential as being a set of individual traits. There is no “your creativity, your skills, your intelligence” – we’re so much better together.

In his new book, which will be released at the end of January 2018, Achor offers five strategies towards achieving what he calls our ‘Big Potential.’ I can’t wait to read and share these strategies with you in the new year.

As musicians, especially when playing in a band, we experience this sense of “better together” all the time. We sound better together, are more creative together and complement each other’s abilities. The deep connections we make help us to feel less lonely on tour, less anxious on stage and less stressed overall.

That’s why Modern Music School’s Group lessons and Band Program are so popular. The group promotes an atmosphere of learning from one another, takes the pressure off of individual students and provides an atmosphere of reassurance and support – all of which contribute to students relaxing and enjoying learning and music more.

The following study shows just how contagious happiness is:

A new study by researchers at Harvard University and the University of California, San Diego documents how happiness spreads through social networks.

They found that when a person becomes happy, a friend living close by has a 25 percent higher chance of becoming happy themselves. A spouse experiences an 8 percent increased chance, and for next-door neighbors, it’s 34 percent.

“Everyday interactions we have with other people are definitely contagious, in terms of happiness,” says Nicholas Christakis, a professor at Harvard Medical School and an author of the study.

Perhaps more surprising, Christakis says, is that the effect extends beyond the people we come into contact with. When one person becomes happy, the social network effect can spread up to 3 degrees — reaching friends of friends.

(Found on National Public Radio)

Once I’ve read “Big Potential,” I will report on how this applies to other qualities, such as performance, intelligence, creativity, leadership ability and health.



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