This book will make you laugh - sincerely. And, that's good for you.
The book starts with a quote that sums it up nicely:
"Our most commonly held formula for success is broken.
Conventional wisdom holds that if we work hard, we will be more successful, and if we are more successful, then we'll be happy... This formula is actually backward: Happiness fuels success"
That common formula is what most of us work under. Consciously or not. The problem, as Shawn puts it, is that if success is always just over there, once we cross the line we hoped for, the happiness actually moves to another line... and so on.
Rather, Shawn states one of the best definitions of success I have heard.
"Happiness is the joy we feel striving after our potential" - Shawn Achor
Oh, that's good.
Shawn Achor spent over a decade living, researching and teaching at Harvard. He has worked with companies such as KPMG and UBS to help them fix this broken formula and has traveled all around the world showing how we can all capitalize on this Happiness Advantage. Here is one of his TED talks.
The book is divided into three parts:
||Positive Psychology at Work
||The Ripple Effect
Part Two is the bulk of the book and the Seven Principles are:
||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.|
|Principle #2||The Fulcrum and the Lever||How we experience the work, 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.|
|Principle #3||The Tetris Effect
||When our brains get stuck in a pattern that focuses on stress, negativity, and failure, we stet ourselves up to fail. This principle teaches us how to retrain our brains to spot patters of possibility, so we can see-and seize-the opportunity wherever we look.|
|Principle #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 about of failure or suffering, but teaches us to be happier and more successful because of it.|
|Principle #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.|
|Principle #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.|
|Principle #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.|
Each of the principles has a number of incredible practicals to help us improve our happiness and, therefore, our success.
The book is filled with studies on the power of happiness psychology and it's amazing effects. Stories such as a group of 75 year old men who were tested before a retreat in every aspect that is expected to deteriorate with age. They were sent to a camp where they lived for a week as though it were 20 years earlier. When they were tested afterwards, almost all of them showed signs of being younger in a number of areas including eyesight, flexibility, appearance and even intelligence.
Another study told of 13 subjects - highly allergic to Poison Ivy - who were blindfolded and had a harmless plant rubbed on their arm saying it was Poison Ivy. All of them broke out in violent rashes and boils. When the test was reversed and Poison Ivy was rubbed on their arm and they were told it was a harmless plant, only two of them broke out.
This is one of the books I paid my young son to read to help him start rewiring his brain.
One personal improvement I made through it was around the dinner table with my family. We each share 3 things we are most grateful for that day. This, Shawn states, is a powerful method used to rewire any brain from a negative mindset to a positive one.
Whether you or your team struggles with being happy, this book will change your life for the better and for more fun!