Why is it that some people seem to be happier than others, more productive and able to deal with stress better? Is it their education, upbringing, or financial status that gives them this advantage? Shawn Achor, a Harvard educated researcher has spent over a decade examining this phenomenon and the effects of Positive Psychology. Positive Psychology is the study of factors that contribute to a “good life,” one that brings meaning and true gratification to individuals.
In his book, The Happiness Advantage, Achor discusses what he believes to be the true underlying reasons behind one’s success. From an early age, many individuals were taught that if you work hard, you will become successful, and once you’re successful, then you’ll be happy. Research in the fields of psychology and neuroscience, along with Achor’s interaction with thousands of executives of Fortune 500 companies, has flipped this concept around. Happiness comes first and is the precursor to success.
Happy people are more motivated, creative, engaged and optimistic which leads to better performance and achievement. Why are certain people happier that others? It’s all based upon perception and how we deal with obstacles. We have all heard the phase. “Is the glass half empty or half full?” The pessimist will see the glass as half empty while the optimist will see the glass as half full.
Our brain is an amazing organ, a biological computer that allows humans to process billions of bits of information. The brain can also be reprogramed to become more positive, which Achor believes will lead to a competitive advantage in life.
Besides being more productive and successful, happier people are healthier and have deeper social interactions, which leads to better overall fulfillment. In his book, Achor outlines a few principles that can lead to a more positive attitude:
- The Fulcrum and the Lever. Changing your performance by changing your mindset. Do you view your work as a job, a career or a calling? Employees who view their work as a calling are more motivated and productive, which gives them meaning and purpose. These individuals find their work more rewarding and therefore work harder and longer. As a result, they are more likely to get ahead.
- The Tetris Effect. Training your Brain to Capitalize on Possibility. Look for the positives in life, whether at work or at home. A better attitude leads to happiness, gratitude and optimism.
- Social Investment. Leverage your network of co-workers; two heads are better than one. Too many individuals try to go it alone, especially during challenging times. Working as a team leads to greater productivity, engagement and resiliency.
In our competitive world, productivity is paramount, and it’s not only about working harder and longer, but having the foundation that leads to success. The Happiness Advantage reveals how rewiring our brain for happiness will automatically lead to greater fulfillment and achievement at home and at work. We believe this is a must-read.