be happy 7 brain hacks by daniel knoflicek

Mel Robbins is known for her book “The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage”. Whoever does not know this brain hack, should watch the video. Basically, it’s about tricking your brain, and every time negative thoughts come up in your mind or you start to procrastinate, mentally count from 5 downwards. So 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 and become active.

What is behind that?


Mel Robbins calls it “metacognition”. By counting backwards the Prefrontal Cortex is activated, it is considered the seat of the executive functions that control one’s behavior taking into account the conditions of the environment. In her book Mel Robbins also writes a lot about motivation and why the brain naturally tries to block changes. The surprising thing about it is how effective the whole thing is in certain situations. There are definitely many areas in my personal life where I follow this rule and I actually manage to overcome my inner bastard. A good first example is the moment after waking up in the morning. Instead of the usual turning from left to right for 10 to 30 minutes, only to escape your duties a little longer, you just count from 5 backwards and get up. I know, it sounds banal, but it works. That’s exactly how it works with nutrition, too. Whoever has difficulties eating healthy should try this Brain Hack the next time. The moment you want to order the next pizza or burger, consciously count from 5 backwards and the big goal will already move back into the foreground of your mind because of the activation of the prefrontal cortex.

“If you only ever did the things you don’t want to do, you’d have everything you’ve ever wanted.”

Mel Robbins

Vishen Lakhiani - Brain Hack #2

5 daily rituals for more productivity

Vishen Lakhiani is CEO and founder of Mindvalley, Dealmates and blinklist and the author of “The Code of the Extraordinary Mind . Vishen Lakhiani firmly believes that the first 60 minutes of the day will determine how productive we are the remaining 23 hours. He also firmly believes that a person’s attitude towards life is affected a lot by conditioning and habit. In his book, he introduces 10 laws to help free oneself from conditioning and bad habits.

5 daily rituals for more productivity


Weighing oneself every morning can put a lot of pressure on you and spoil your day. In his book Vishen Lakhiani recommends so-called “set points”, which play an important role, especially in terms of health and fitness. It’s no big news that physical health and fitness correlate strongly with mental strength, so having a healthy lifestyle is important to most successful people. It is therefore advisable to set a “set point” for body weight and body fat percentage that should not be exceeded. There is a long-term study published in 2005 with over 3,000 obese people (that are the the big ones ;-)), which shows that daily weighing automatically helps with weight loss.


It is no surprise that for Vishen Lakhiani the daily meditation is essential for a good start into the day. In his book, he describes his meditating routine and goes into more detail about the different methods he uses every day. He performs a 6-step meditation and dedicates each step to one aspect. Stage 3 of his meditational ritual is all about forgiveness. When I stumbled across this point in his book, it probably took a lot of eye rolling to continue reading. In short, the theory of “forgiveness makes you happy” is definitely not a new approach. Anger, rage and resentment against other people stress our body and disturb our harmony … no shit?! The Journal of Health Psychology has published a study in which Researchers at Luther College in Ioawa have studied the mental and physical health of a total of 148 young adults. There, the correlation of high stress with negative emotions has been proven. For me personally, meditation is one of the toughest challenges of all. Although I manage to incorporate the meditation into my daily life more and more, I still need support from my app Headspace. At the beginning, I found it somewhat controversial to meditate with an app, but I can only really recommend it.


HIIT stands for “High Intensity Interval Training “and good Vishen has his own workout program at Mindvalley, too. The training lasts a maximum of 15-20 minutes and gets the blood circulation going in order to optimally start the day. Again, this is not a world debut as far as the the idea is concerned and yet I can only recommend anyone to complete their workout as early as possible.


The brain is a muscle as we know and needs to be trained. He recommends learning something new for at least 20 minutes a day. This can be challenging, especially in stressful times, when important deadlines come up. I have made it a habit to enter seven 30 minute blocks in my calendar, and after each lesson, I actively delete the block from my calendar, as a reward, so to speak. But the big advantage is that I keep the overview and learning units that I have not made for whatever reason can be caught up on weekends or on less stressful days. What’s on the curriculum can be very different, from brain jogging to learning new languages, or programming in my case, for example.


In his book, he often talks about how important reading is for him and that reading books is crucial for achieving succes. He does not care too much about what kind books he reads. Personally, I am able to do exactly 5 minutes in the evening and before entering the land of dreams.

“The key to being extraordinary is knowing what rules to follow and what rules to break.”

Vishen Lakhiani

Robin Sharma - Brain Hack #3

defeat procrastination

Robin Sharma is a Canadian writer and “Motivational Speaker” on a grand scale a la Tony Robbins. He is known for his book “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari“. I have to admit, I have neither read this book nor any of his other ones. I am generally not a big fan of so-called “Motivational Speakers”, because these appearances tend to go too much in a GURU direction. Nevertheless, I recommend the Netflix Documentary on Tony Robbin “I AM NOT YOUR GURU” to anyone. But there are two Brain Hacks by Robin Sharma, which helped me a lot in my daily fight with procrastination. At this point I would like to recommend to whoever likes light reading the excellent book on procrastination from 2008 Sascha Lobo “Get things fixed – without a spark of self-discipline”.

The idea comes from the book   “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill in which Napoleon Hill discusses how important the time shortly after waking up and shortly before going to bed is for the subconscious mind. He is also strongly convinced that rituals are very important for the personal development and he recommends writing down the biggest goal or a fixed idea you want to implement, reading it out aloud every day after waking up and before going to sleep. The goal can be very different, for some it may finally having their dream body until 2019, for others it may be material goals like the Porsche, which may be missing in any midlife crisis. But also achieving mental goals such as defeating fear of flying could be such a fixed idea, what is important only is the actual act of writing down and reading out aloud.


Accompanying this, Robin Sharma also uses a so-called “Dream Collage”. In principle, this can be a notepad, loose piece of paper or a bound book with blank pages where you can visualize a collage of things and goals. A simple example would be to cut out one’s dream home from an architecture magazine or one’s dream car from the new “Motor Revue” you want to buy. The idea behind it is that the subconscious, according to popular opinion, controls up to 95% of our lives and reacts very strongly to visual stimuli and is also programmable with the help of these visual stimuli. You could even say that this is the classic “brainwashing” approach. Also in the field of nutrition, the subconscious plays a big role and neuromarketing has been using this type of programming for a long time. Personally, I’ve had a “Dream Collage” for more than a year, and I suggest you to start with little things. The first pages are still more of a dream for me than reality, but that does not matter.

Funny talk about procrastination Tim Urban

“Greatness begins beyond your comfort zone”

Robin Sharma

Tim Ferris - Brain Hack #4

17 questions that change your life

Tim Ferris is the author of “The 4-Hour Work Week” which is probably one of the most famous books in the start-up scene ever. If you have not read the book yet, you should catch up on that quickly. From a personal perspective, the “learning”, as they say, was that I can muck up to two start-ups in a year in even less than 4 hours a week. Nevertheless, I think that the book is a must-read for every entrepreneur. In his book “Tools of the Titans”, Ferris presents 17 questions that, according to his own statement, have drastically changed his life for the better. Among them are really interesting approaches and questions like “What happens if I do exactly the opposite for 48 hours?” Or my favorite question “What can I learn from the people I hate the most?”. This question comes with two advantages: first, it forces you to split off your morale of the eternal search for effectiveness (that does not mean that you should throw your moral approaches overboard) and secondly, it helps you to develop at least a little bit of empathy for these people, where we would again be on the subject of forgiveness and happiness (see Brain Hack # 2).


Some of these questions, to my mind, are rather nonsense, but I believe that everyone has to try that out for themselves. One thing is certain, however: The questions trigger more questions and you begin to question certain patterns of thinking. A good example of doing the exact opposite for 48 hours is not to retrieve your emails in the morning, but in the evening.

Amelia Boone - Brain Hack #5

How to create a comeback

I think, Amalia Boone is hardly known by anyone. I became aware of her story by chance through the documentary series 15 Hours by Billy Yang Films. Amalia Boone is a lawyer for Apple Inc. and in addition to this a very successful steeplechaser, multiple World Champion & Spartan Race Champion. In 2016, she had to end her career due to a very serious injury. In an interview with Tom Bilyeu, who incidentally has a more than remarkable YouTube Channel, she talks about what she learned during her 2-year injury break and how she handled the initial uncertainty of whether she would ever be able to do professional sports again. Her access to coping with fears and the acceptance of her own weaknesses is particularly interesting. Since I myself have been injured for half a year with a knee injury, a so-called “Unhappy Triad“or basically a total loss of the knee, I was particularly interested in her story. What I had to learn for a long time and did not want to admit to myself is that it’s OK to feel like shit, not to have energy, to eat junk food only for days, maybe even weeks, not to get things done and maybe not to be the person you would like to be. The important thing is to be aware of it, to accept it and to find a way out of it again.

Jay Smith - Brain Hack #6

I think Jay Smith is what you call a Big Deal. As an American innovator of digital media, he has pioneered music and video distribution, social media and e-commerce. He is the author of the bestseller “Disrupt You! Master Personal Transformation” and “Seize Opportunity”. Granted, not the most likeable on the list, but certainly someone you can learn a lot from. Jay Samit has wondered if you can train yourself to get good ideas for products or services. In one of his countless interviews, he even gives the promise that if you follow his method, in 30 days you will have a better Deal flow than all venture capital companies in Silicon Valley combined. How does that work though? Just take a piece of paper and write down three current issues in your own life. For example, in my case, that would mean that I constantly forget to take my medication in the evening, it is very difficult to transport a cup of coffee with crutches from A to B and my Uber bill is much too high because of my stupid knee. The difficulty begins on the second day of the method, as it is recommended repeating this process for 30 days. The first day is easy, because three problems are quickly found and also the second and third day are still relatively easy. The idea is that more and more people begin to identify problems that they may not even see as a problem because they’ve been part of everyday life for so long and they’ve simply been accepted a long time ago. This method is also used especially in large companies, where processes have not been questioned for a long time. As a good example, I think of my former job at Baxter. Back then, I was responsible for testing software and hardware for the labs. Only about 3 meters from my desk was the warehouse for everyday hardware such as cables, tablets, laboratory hardware, etc., which were often needed for testing. Just getting the necessary hardware was, however, never planned in the process diagram. Instead, I had to fill out an online form and usually wait up to 48 hours for the hardware to be approved. Incidentally, this was not about exciting high-end hardware, but about parts such as USB cables and Bluetooth mice. What seemed totally absurd to me at the beginning was absolutely normal after a month and was no longer in doubt. After 30 days you will have written down 90 problems or ideas. The next step is to focus on ideas for which you have a certain passion and that affect a multitude of people. The ideas that overlap in these two points are the ideas that you should pursue. In one interview, Jay Samit makes a nice comparison and says “Nobody buys a drill, because he would like to buy a drill, but because he needs a hole in the wall.”

“Insight and drive are all the skills you need. Everything else can be hired.”

Jay Smith

Vanessa Van Edwards - Brain Hack #7

Simply be happy

Vanessa Van Edwards is a behavioral scientist and bestselling author of The Science of Succeeding with people. In addition, she is a language instructor specialized in science skills. In her book she describes systems and secrets to master interactions with people at work, at home and in any social situation. The interesting thing about this book is that it’s not about emotions, but similar to a program code, it has a schedule with multiple loops, similar to an if-then and if-then-else statement.

The Brain Hack, which I would like to introduce here, however, does not appear in her book and is more about her current study on the topic “BEING UNHAPPY”. The study ran for two years and examined whether “being happy” can be learned and if so, how it could work. The end result is a ten-step program that promises practical exercises to help bring a happier life to life. I would like to introduce a very exciting exercise from the program. By the way, if you have been at the Happy exhibition of Stefan Sagmeister or watched his film “The Happy Movie” this exercise may well be familiar to you.

The chart of happiness

The idea behind it is that being happy occurs in a small moment, every day anew and not in big events that change lives. The exercise works by creating a chart, where all the activities you do over the day are recorded. Especially the little things of life, like a cup of coffee, going to the gym, doing laundry or walking the dog. She recommends that you register the activities for a few days and then rank them according to which of these activities made you the happiest and which ones were the least enjoyable. It is not about the euphoric happiness, but about the little satisfaction that you sometimes feel when you have just washed the entire laundry basket. By the way, that is no feeling that I’m familiar with: I would need a hamper first. Now that you’ve sorted out a list of activities, you add the time you spend on a daily basis, Vanessa Van calls it ” Happy Math“. What comes out of that will surprise hardly anyone. Most of our tasks and, thus, most of our day are spent doing ”unhappy tasks”. This exercise should help you to become aware of it and, above all, to enjoy the little moments in life, like drinking a cup of coffee or enjoying a quiet moment without external influences. And when you first realize which of these many little moments make you happy in life, you can try to hack your own life and build these moments bit by bit more into your day.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Vanessa Van Edwards

I’ve tried all 7 brain hacks and methods myself, some of them long ago, some recently. What I can definitely say is that all of these methods have had or are having a positive impact on my life and person. However, one should leave the self-development to itself once in a while and just live for the moment. I have come to terms with the fact that I’m not going to become an Elon Musk any more, but I will continue to try to work on my personality, my knowledge and my person, both physically and mentally. Nevertheless, I have no problem with eating burgers only for three consecutive days and with watching 10 seasons of Family Guy in one go – when, if not now? Therefore, it appears that even a knee injury can make you happy.

“I have always lived violently, drunk hugely, eaten too much or not at all, slept around the clock or missed two nights of sleeping, worked too hard and too long in glory, or slobbed for a time in utter laziness. I’ve lifted, pulled, chopped, climbed, made love with joy and taken my hangovers as a consequence, not as a punishment.”

John Steinbeck

[Daniel Knoflicek, MSc] [Founder Slidebird Webstories] [Owner] [Brand Ambassador DESK.WORKS] [Shareholder Heart Club] [Inormatik TU Wien] [Online Media Marketing DUK] [Design] [Code] [Fitness] [Surfing] [Charles Bukowski] [Jean Paul Sartre ][Binge Watching] [Getting Wasted] …

daniel Knoflicek Autor

Daniel Knoflicek ist seit 2012 Geschäftsführer von Slidebird Webstories, einer Agentur für online Marketing, Webdesign und Webentwicklung. Des Weiteren hat Daniel Knoflicek das Start Up Ernst M. gegründet, welches vegane, bio Marmelade in Österreich herstellet und vertreibt. Er ist als CTO für das Start Up tätig. Seit 2015 und der Gründung von DESK.WORKS ist Daniel Knoflicek als Brand Ambassador für Österreich zuständig.

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