Happy To Report On The Happiness Advantage
If you recall from a couple posts ago, How Mice and Zorro Led to Smaller Goals for my “Side Hustle” I’ve set some “mouse” goals for myself. These are small goals that I aspire to give approximately 10 minutes to each day. I’m not at 100% achievement everyday but I’ve certainly made gains. One of my goals was to read 10 pages of a personal development book each day. Because of this goal, I completed the book The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. I started the book over a year ago. I never made it a priority to read it so I only captured a couple of pages here and there and never truly grasped the message. The new goal for intentional reading allowed me to engage with the content and feel the sense of accomplishment when I completed it. I was happy on several fronts not just because of the subject of the book.
The myth that one will be happy once one becomes successful is debunked within the book. It’s happiness that allows one to be successful. Achor gives 7 principles that clarify the importance of not treating happiness as “irrelevant”, “weak” or “not deserved”. There is a science to being happy and happiness has many rewards in addition to the general positive feeling of being happy. We gain more perception, become engaged, get creative and motivated to tackle tasks when we are happy.
Achor discusses a variety of scientific research that supports many of his own studies in positive psychology. By interweaving this research with humourous personal anecdotes, it gets the empirical evidence across in a way that is fun to read. He illustrates the importance of happiness, not just to the world of work and business, but the world in general. He frames them around his 7 principles which are:
The Happiness Advantage
This principle outlines how framing environments around happiness can create inspiration and motivation. “This isn’t just because fun is, well, fun. It’s because fun also leads to bottom-line results”.
The Fulcrum and the Lever
Happiness and success are not of fixed realities. They are relative. If you change the position of the fulcrum or the length of the lever and you change what you can move. Likewise, change your mindset and you can change your level of happiness and accomplishment.
The Tetris Effect
Just like playing Tetris repeatedly will train your brain to watch for shape patterns in your real-life world, practicing positive habits can train your brain to behave more positively.
Most of us are familiar with the term “falling down”. It conveys the image of a person, loosing footing and possibly inuring themselves as they “fall” to the ground. Is that the only way to look at it? What can we positively say about this statement? Could the fall help the individual to learn why the fall happened and prevent it in the future? Might it actually be a “good” fall? Perhaps on to a bed for a restful sleep? Where is the down? Is it into despair? Or could it be a learning experience that helps the individual learn what despair is so that s/he can appreciate when s/he is not in despair. Falling up is a chapter that explores finding other perspectives or reasonings that explore positive twists or outcomes to otherwise negative events.
The Zorro Circle
This is the principle that encouraged me to create smaller goals in order to accomplish bigger ones. One of my favourite principles because it alleviates the overwhelm that comes from tackling monstrous tasks or goals.
The 20-Second Rule
Based on a personal experience of Achor’s, he named this principle The 20-Second Rule. Basically, humans will choose the path of least resistance when choosing behaviours. If you have trouble accomplishing a goal, you may need to look at what is in the way of achieving it. Can you lessen the resistance in order to make it easier acieve success?
As Achor puts it himself: “nothing is more crucial to our success than holding on to the people around us”. As humans, we are social creatures and it is always important to surround ourselves with meaningful support members. Whether it’s to lean in times of weakness or laugh with in times of joy, the more we have invested in our social network, the better off we are.
Passionate about positive psychology and leadership, I found this book to be an excellent resource to support my beliefs that happiness is important to the achievement of success. If you’ve read the book or plan to, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. If you want to follow up with another resource, watch Shawn Achor’s TED Talk. It’s one of my favourites.