Psychological Sunshine


Recently I have been thinking a lot about what Dr. David Schwartz, the author of The Magic of Thinking Big, refers to as “psychological sunshine”. I came across this book a few years ago after hearing both Tim Ferriss and Pete Adney (aka Mr. Money Mustache) recommend the book as one that was instrumental to their development as young men. After listening to it on Audible the first time, I have since revisited it once a year; each time reaping positive results from the mindset the book helps to develop. 

Dr. Schwartz presents the idea of psychological sunshine when he is describing different ways people choose to spend their weekends. He describes one character who spends his Friday night at the bar, his Saturday making plans with his wife but not following through and just having a lazy day, and Sunday dreading Monday. Contrasted to the character who gets a good night’s rest on Friday, spends Saturday exercising and meeting up with a small group of people for coffee or dinner, and a Sunday out and about with the family.

When I first read this book I decided to alter my behavior to get more of this psychological Vitamin D. This manifested itself in plenty of time outdoors, exercising, reading, and meeting up with a friend for a game of chess. Nowadays a typical weekend will be spent attending Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu on Saturday, Yoga on Sunday, eating nutritious home cooked meals with my partner, getting errands done, plenty of sleep & reading, and either meeting up with someone for coffee or having a long phone conversation with a friend. All this psychological sunshine leads to a rejuvenated mind and body come Monday. 

It turns out that this is not just a concept that was relevant in the 60’s when The Magic of Thinking Big was first published. Ryan Holiday wrote about it in his most recent book Stillness Is The Key. Here is what he said:

Randall Stutman, who for decades has been the behind-the-scenes adviser for many of the biggest CEOs and leaders on Wall Street, once studies how several hundred senior executives of major corporations recharged in their downtime. The answers were things like sailing, long distance cycling, listening quietly to classical music, scuba diving, riding motorcycles, and fishing. All these activities, he noticed, had one thing in common: an absence of voices.

To me it is clear that nothing we do is in a vacuum, and we are the sum of all of our decisions. Just as one hand washes another, so too does one activity influence the next. 

Consider doing an audit of your weekends. Do the activities give you the energy to move towards your major objectives? How about the people you surround yourself with?

Sunshine by Creative Stall from the Noun Project


Leave a Reply