In his book, The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life of our brain’s capacity, Shawn Achor reminds us. Our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive when we are optimistic. Happiness is not a result of success but a precursor.
We can achieve happiness by small, consistent, conscious acts: kindness, gratitude, smiling, social interaction, compliments, and actively looking for the positive. Additionally, rigorous research backs the discovery in psychology and neuroscience, management studies, and organizations’ bottom lines worldwide.
The Happiness Advantage
Moreover, our most commonly held formula for success is faulty. It says: if we work hard, we will be more successful. And if we are more successful, then we’ll be happy. It also claims that if we can find that great job, win that next promotion, lose those five pounds, happiness will follow. But recent discoveries in the field of positive psychology have shown that this formula is backward.
“Happiness fuels success, not the other way around.”
The Happiness Advantage author, Shawn Achor, spent over a decade living, researching, and lecturing at Harvard University. Shawn also draws on his research to fix this broken formula. His research includes one of the most extensive studies of happiness at Harvard and companies like UBS and KPMG.
Achor used stories and case studies from his work with thousands of Fortune 500 executives in 42 countries. Furthermore, he explains how we can reprogram our brains to become more positive to gain a competitive edge at work.
Shawn Achor isolated seven practical, actionable principles, tried and tested everywhere from classrooms to boardrooms, stretching from Argentina to Zimbabwe. He shows us how we can capitalize on the Happiness Advantage to improve our performance and maximize our potential.
The Seven Principles – The Happiness Advantage
When Shawn finished gathering and analyzing the massive amount of research, he isolated seven actionable and proven patterns that predict success and achievement. Here are the seven principles Shawn Achor outlines in the Happiness Advantage in fueling success.
1. The Happiness Advantage:
It has been proven that positive brains have a biological advantage over neutral or negative brains in fueling success. Thus, the happiness advantage principle teaches us to retrain our brains to capitalize on positivity and improve our productivity and performance.
2. The Fulcrum and the Lever:
How we experience the world, and our ability to succeed within it, constantly changes based on our mindset. The fulcrum and lever principle teaches us to adjust our mindset (our fulcrum) to give us the power (the lever) to be fulfilled and successful.
3. The Tetris Effect:
When our brains get stuck in a pattern that focuses on stress, failure, and negativity, then we set ourselves up for failure. The Tetris effect principle shows us how to retrain our brains to spot possibility patterns, so we can seize opportunities wherever we look.
4. Falling Up:
Amid defeat, stress, and crisis, our brains map different paths to help us cope. The falling-up principle is about finding the mental approach that not only leads us out of suffering or failure but teaches us to be happier and successful.
5. The Zorro Circle:
When challenges loom and we get overwhelmed, our rational brains can get hijacked by emotions. The zerro circle principle teaches us how to regain control. It shows us how to focus on small, manageable goals and gradually expand our circle to achieve bigger ones.
6. The 20-Second Rule:
Sustaining lasting change often feels impossible because of our limited willpower. And when the will fails, we fall back on our old habits and succumb to the path of least resistance. The 20-second rule principle shows how we can reroute the least resistance path by making minor energy adjustments and replace bad habits with good ones.
7. Social Investment:
During challenges and stress, some people choose to hunker down and retreat within themselves. But most successful people invest in their friends, peers, and family members to propel themselves forward. The social investment principle teaches us how to invest more in one of the most significant predictors of success and excellence—our social network.
The seven principles of positive psychology have extraordinary applications in the workplace in both good times and bad. Positive brain fuels success not only help businesses and professionals preserve their well-being and help them maximize their energy, productivity, and performance when they needed it the most.
More About Shawn Achor
Shawn Achor spent 12 years at Harvard University and presented one of the top five most popular TEDx talks. Shawn is one of the world’s leading experts on the connection between happiness and success.
Shawn’s research on happiness made the cover of Harvard Business Review. His research and work on stress in partnership with Yale University at UBS were published in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
Acher has worked with over a third of the Fortune 100 companies, as well as the NFL, the NBA, the Pentagon, and the White House. He traveled to more than 50 countries to speak to CEOs in China, doctors in Dubai, schoolchildren in South Africa, and farmers in Zimbabwe.
Shawn Achor is the New York Times bestselling author of Before Happiness and The Happiness Advantage.
Final Words On The Happiness Advantage By Shawn Achor:
This book is a must-read for anyone trying to excel in a world of increasing workloads, stress, and negativity. The book gives the revelation that happiness is a choice! Achor’s advice of writing down three good things a day each day for a week and then aiming for six months is an excellent tool to changing your mindset. The goal of perceiving circumstances transpiring differently than planned as an opportunity for further growth is the right path to a positive mindset. Also, focusing on small manageable goals is a way of expanding your sphere of power.
The Happiness Advantage isn’t only about how to become happier at work. It is also about how to reap the benefits of a happier and more positive mindset. In turn, you will achieve the extraordinary in our work and in our lives. Moving to a positive mindset can have a tremendous effect on your life. A book can not change your life, but it can absolutely expand your thinking.
“Happiness is not the belief that we don’t need to change; it is the realization that we can.”