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The Happiness Advantage
Shawn Achor

Positive psychology at work

The most individuals follow a formula that has been taught to them by their schools, their company, their parents, or society. That is: If you work hard, you will become successful, and once you become successful, then you'll be happy. Success first, happiness second.
The only problem is that this formula is broken because it is backward. Research in the fields of positive psychology and neuroscience has proven that happiness and optimism actually fuel performance and achievement.

The Seven Principles

  1. 1.
    The Happiness Advantage. Because positive brains have a biological advantage over brains that are neutral or negative, this principle teaches us how to retrain our brains to capitalize on positivity and improve our productivity and performance.
  2. 2.
    The Fulcrum and the Lever. How we experience the world, and our ability to succeed within it, constantly changes based on our mindset. This principle teaches us how we can adjust our mindset (our fulcrum) in a way that gives us the power (the lever) to be more fulfilled and successful.
  3. 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 to spot patterns of possibility, so we can see – and seize – opportunity wherever we look.
  4. 4.
    Falling Up. In the mindset 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 out of failure or suffering, but teaches us to be happier and more successful because of it.
  5. 5.
    The Zorro Circle. When challenges loom and we get overwhelmed, our rational brains can get hijacked by emotions. This principle teaches us how to regain control by focusing first on small, manageable goals, and then gradually expanding our circle to achieve bigger and bigger ones.
  6. 6.
    The 20-Second Rule. Sustaining lasting change often feels impossible because our willpower is limited. And when willpower fails, we fall back on our old habits and succumb to the path of least resistance. This principle shows how, by making small energy adjustments, we can reroute the path of least resistance and replace bad habits with good ones.
  7. 7.
    Social Investment. In the midst of challenges and stress, some people choose to hunker down and retreat within themselves. But the most successful people invest in their friends, peers, and family members to propel themselves forward. This principle teaches us how to invest more in one of the greatest predictors of success and excellence – our social support network.
Last modified 3mo ago