It is only in the conscious realm that we can notice ourselves working harder, and then paradoxically realise that we are not always being more effective. Conscious questions, for example, may prompt a lot of thinking, but do not readily elicit the unconscious reasons for some of our actions. Nor do conscious cognitive efforts always lead to desired results. You can’t think yourself happier.
Thus telling yourself to ‘Be Positive’ is a poor starting place for a happier or easier life. This is because it is difficult to change your mind about stuff. As humans, we are designed to seek confirmatory evidence to reaffirm our beliefs and discard contrary evidence.
If you want to change, it is more effective to change what you do than to change how you think. Improvisation offers a practical set of activities that serve as a short-cut, gently distracting us away from cognitive thinking to direct experiences of things that make you happier, such as being creative, entering flow, collaborating and so forth.
There are many overlooked insights along this track. Once you appreciate that behaviour is driven by how easy it is, we can re-design our environments to make it easier to be happier. If we are creatures of our environment, we can remove distractions and load it with incentive to do the right things, so don’t need to think about it. Strategy beats will-power. And improvisation sharpens the skills.