9 Us­ing pass­words to un­lock hap­pi­ness

Cul­ture Peo­ple are hid­ing pos­i­tive af­fir­ma­tions in daily lo­gins Wed­nes­day, Oc­to­ber 11, 2017

StarMetro Vancouver - - LIFE - Genna Buck

Most of us know the stan­dard ad­vice on how to choose a pass­word: Make it long, com­pli­cated, free of dic­tio­nary words, and not some­thing ul­tra-dumb and hack­able like “1111111” or “pass­word,” which about half of us still do, ac­cord­ing to a study by the se­cu­rity com­pany Keeper.

But what if a pass­word could go be­yond pro­tec­tion, and ac­tu­ally do some­thing pos­i­tive for your life?

It worked for Cather­ine Di Ce­sare. The 35-year-old se­cu­rity em­ployee from Toronto has a side gig with the multi-level mar­ket­ing com­pany Steeped Tea. She sells teas to fam­ily, friends and mem­bers of her so­cial net­work.

The com­pany of­fers in­cen­tives — like a trip to Ja­maica — to top per­form­ers. Di Ce­sare de­cided she to have it. So she changed her pass­word to “some­thing like Ja­maicaIn2016.”

“The idea was to re­mind me to do at least one small thing each day to help to­wards earn­ing the trip, be it find­ing a new cus­tomer, talk­ing to some­one who was in­ter­ested in the com­pany or sched­ul­ing posts on my Facebook,” Di Ce­sare said in a mes­sage to Metro.

She got her trip, and she’s since re­peated the tech­nique to earn get­aways to Maui and Rome.

Health pro­moter Steph Fran­cis, 30, does some­thing sim­i­lar. She uses her pass­words as a sort of daily af­fir­ma­tion.

One is ac­tu­ally a mnemonic. “Ev­ery time I type it in some­where, I say the whole phrase to my­self as a re­minder to love my­self and con­tinue to do that,” she wrote. “It’s not so much goal-ori­ented, but in the stress of life they are good re­minders to be grate­ful for what I do have.”

Ex­perts such as Dr. Michael Mercer, au­thor of Spon­ta­neous Op­ti­mism: Proven Strate­gies for Health, Pros­per­ity & Hap­pi­ness, have praised this tech­nique.

“Peo­ple be­come the words and phrases they say the most. Since you use pass­words a lot, you con­tin­u­ally say pos­i­tive, help­ful, up­lift­ing words to im­prove your life,” Mercer told the Daily Mail.

On the other hand, Amer­i­can psy­chol­o­gist Martin Selig­man, a pos­i­tive-think­ing ex­pert who has writ­ten nu­mer­ous self-help books about hap­pi­ness and op­ti­mism, was some­what skep­ti­cal.

“I had not heard of it be­fore. It’s cute. But with­out en­vi­sion­ing the spe­cific ac­tions to the goal, it’s likely woo woo,” Selig­man said in an email to Metro. “In general, af­fir­ma­tions do not work un­less the route to the goal (as well as the goal) is at­tended to.”

De­signer Momo Estrella pop­u­lar­ized the pass­word-as-af­fir­ma­tion prac­tice a few years ago in his es­say How a Pass­word Changed my Life on Medium. com.

In the midst of a messy di­vorce, Estrella changed his PC’s pass­word to For­give@h3r.

“I had to type this pass­word sev­eral times a day. Each time my com­puter would lock. Each time my screen­saver with her photo would ap­pear. Each time I would come back from eat­ing lunch alone,” he wrote. “In my mind, I was re­mind­ing my­self to ‘For­give her’. That sim­ple ac­tion changed the way I looked at my ex-wife.”


cather­ine Di ce­sare en­joy­ing the trip to Ja­maica she earned, in part, by us­ing her com­puter pass­words as a goal-set­ting tool.

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