“THE HAPPINESS ADVANTAGE: the Seven Principles…That Fuel Success and Performance at Work”
©2010 Shawn Achor
There’s so much in life that can make us happy… a great job, a promotion, the right romance, hitting our ideal weight. Maybe so, but Shawn Achor asks a big “What if?”
What if we have the equation backwards?
What if being happy precedes these outcomes,
not the other way around?
In The Happiness Advantage, Achor, a leading thinker (and doer) in the field of human potential, draws from scientific research to make a compelling case that the causal direction does not run from success to happiness, but from happiness to success. “ [We assume] that our external world is predictive of our happiness levels. In reality, if I know everything about your external world, I can only predict 10% of your long-term happiness. 90% of your long-term happiness is predicted not by by the external world, but by the way your brain processes the world. It’s not necessarily the reality that shapes us, but the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality….”
His book is subtitled The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work.
#1 The Happiness Advantage: “Positive brains have a biological advantage over brains that are neutral or negative.”
#2 The Fulcrum and the Lever: “…How we experience the world…constantly changes…we can adjust our mindset (our fulcrum) in a way that gives us the power (the lever) to become more fulfilled and successful.”
#3 The Tetris Effect: “When our brains get stuck in a pattern that focuses on stress, negativity, and failure, we set ourselves up to fail. This principle teaches us how to retrain our brains….”
#4 Falling Up: “In the midst of defeat, stress, and crisis, our brains map different paths to help us cope. This principle is about finding the mental path that not only leads us up and out of failure and suffering, but teaches us to be happier and more successful because of it.”
#5 The Zorro Circle: “When challenges loom and we get overwhelmed, our rational brains can get hijacked by emotions. This principle teaches how to regain control….”
#6 The 20-Second Rule: “This principle shows us how, by making small energy adjustments, we can reroute the path of least resistance and replace bad habits with good ones.”
#7 Social Investment: “In the midst of challenges and stress, some people choose to hunker down and retreat within themselves…. This principle teaches us how to invest more in one of the greatest predictors of success and excellence—our social support network.
Achor uses his experience working first with Harvard undergrads and then Fortune 500 companies to present surprising and hopeful conclusions that can help us all achieve more by consciously being a little happier. The great news is, we not only become more successful, we sleep better, feel better, and look better.
I keep this book handy on my bookshelf for a quick dip whenever I feel the grumpies creeping up on me. Or, for a quick lift, I revisit Achor’s amusing 12-minute TED talk, which makes me laugh no matter how often I see it: http://bit.ly/WbBDuv.
How does this premise of ‘happiness first’ land with you?