The Happiness Advantage - Shawn Achor

The Happiness Advantage - Shawn Achor

Understand how positive psychology will make you see the opportunities that are being offered, through a more optimistic view of reality.

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Have you ever stopped to question your idea of happiness? The world dictates all the time that being happy is a consequence of the success you achieve in your life. The book "The Happiness Advantage", by author Shawn Achor, brings this great question to the reader.

If well-being comes from success, why are there still so many unhappy people, regardless of what they have already achieved?

The answer presented by him goes against what society tells us and opens the way to a healthier life with many more possibilities for real and rewarding success.

In this summary, you will understand everything about positive psychology and what is needed to take advantage of life's opportunities, through a more optimistic view of reality. Come on!

About the book "The Happiness Advantage"

The book "The Happiness Advantage", by Shawn Achor, is a detailed study on the benefits of being a happy person today.

In addition to physical and mental well-being, the feeling of happiness and all other positive feelings coming from, are crucial to increase productivity, better deal with opportunities, and build a successful career.

With this, the author presents the 7 fundamental principles to have a more positive life and achieve all these benefits.

About the author Shawn Achor

Shawn Achor is a researcher and speaker, an advocate of positive psychology for the transformation of income and success of desires and companies.

The author spent more than 12 years, between his undergraduate and subsequent studies, within Harvard faculty.

It was during this period that he did research and research the method that consists of 7 principles for acquiring positive habits and transforming his productivity through happiness.

Today, in addition to being a speaker, he also manages the company GoodThink, a research institute for applying positivity.

To whom is this book indicated?

The book "The Happiness Advantage" is ideal for students, leaders, and entrepreneurs who want to discover the secrets to a happier and more focused life.

During the work, you will understand all the advantages of investing in your happiness, and learn to acquire habits to overcome obstacles, improve your productivity, and achieve success.

Main ideas of the book "The Happiness Advantage"

  • Contrary to what many people imagine, happiness precedes (and is crucial) for success, and not the other way around;
  • Contentment is also important to increase your reasoning ability, understand better how to use it as opportunities that appear and improve your productivity in studies and work;
  • If you are not a positive person today, it is possible to change that. Neuroplasticity ensures that you can change habits and the way you think regardless of your age;
  • The 7 principles for a positive life: benefit of happiness, support point, and leverage, Tetris effect, finding opportunity in failure, the Zorro circle, the 20-second rule, the social investment circle;
  • More positive leaders, who encourage the happiness of their employees, increase the productivity of the entire team and guarantee even greater revenue in the company.

The author Shawn Achor explains the importance of passing on all of these teachings, ensuring that people around you follow the same stream of success as you.

So, are you ready to transform your well-being today?

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[Book Summary] The Happiness Advantage - Shawn Achor

Overview: Positive psychology in practice

Even today, society has limiting beliefs that, instead of leading us to success and happiness, make us unhappy and unproductive.

Positive psychology has emerged to revolutionize the way we live our lives and prove that, above all, happiness can transform our success in the short and long term.

Through his book "The Happiness Advantage", Shawn Achor teaches the reader that nurturing positive thoughts is not a way to delude yourself or become a blind optimist.

In fact, looking at life with more hopeful eyes is a way to make the experience of today more peaceful, in addition to providing us with what the author calls the benefit of happiness.

Happiness benefit

The benefit of happiness is nothing more than a series of advantages that your body and mind achieve because of it.

According to author Shawn Achor, this goes far beyond what you think: satisfaction, or positive thoughts, changes as sources of your assets and allows you to fight stress. In addition, it makes you a much more focused and productive person.

Leveraging your achievements

"The Happiness Advantage" explains that working on happiness and positive thoughts will help you improve your achievements, both in the short and long term.

Through specific techniques, a desire for change, and insistence, you can transform the potential of your mind and all the opportunities that life offers.

Keep reading and understand how!

Overview: The principles of happiness

Shawn Achor dedicates this whole part of the book to explain what the 7 principles are and how they can be applied by you immediately.

It is important to understand that this whole process is important, especially for leaders and entrepreneurs who want to see the company's growth in the short and long term.

According to the author, after more than a decade of observing high-performing students and entrepreneurs, he realized that those who achieved the best results were positive people.

That is, they were able to see reasons for happiness and satisfaction in the present, even in the face of problems.

Happiness Definition

Not even Google can give you a fixed definition, but in this context, scientists define it as a set of positive feelings and general well-being, and when you're in that mood, you're satisfied with now and have a lot of hope to be equal better in the future.

The benefit of workplace happiness

Research indicates that happiness improves our health and fills our brain with dopamine and serotonin, fundamental hormones that increase the brain's learning power and also make you a much more willing person.

The result of this is an increase in job performance.

Leading with the benefit of happiness

The author cites research that indicates that each negative interaction in the workplace requires at least 3 positive ones to compensate and generate well-being in the team.

The ideal for doubling productivity is to provide 6 positive interactions with 1 negative.

Tips to be happier today

  • Meditate every day;
  • Do a small act of kindness or a positive comment to someone;
  • Exercise regularly;
  • Spend money on experiences, not things;
  • Have hobbies and develop your talents.

Overview: The support point and lever

Shawn makes it clear that the way we experience and feel the world (and everything around us) varies according to the way we are used to thinking. Feeding positive thoughts will not change the world, but it will help you process it differently.

This will help you stay motivated, no matter what happens. Therefore, the author defines that there are 2 things that form the support point necessary for you to leverage your potential:

  1. Lever length: This is how much potential you really believe you have;
  2. The lever's foothold: The attitudes you choose to have in a situation that can lead to change.

Expectation Theory and the lever for your intelligence

You may have heard of the placebo effect. Placebo remedies, scientifically speaking, have an efficacy between 50% and 60% identical to that of normal medications. And that happens because of what scientists call the Theory of Expectations.

In other words, the expectations we generate create patterns in our brains that can be as effective as those created by real situations. Shawn Achor explains in "The Happiness Advantage" that you can use this trend to your advantage.

Tips for leveraging your full potential

  • Think of your work as a life mission, and see its importance in it.
  • Encourage people around you to grow with you;
  • Believe in your potential, but also do not doubt the potential of others;
  • Be careful about expectations that are very unrealistic. Believe in yourself, but recognize your limits. You can't fly, even if you want to, for example.

Overview: The Tetris effect

If you have played the famous Tetris, you may have wondered how addictive this game is. And the author mentions that many players spend so much time in front of this game, that they can see parts and fittings in daily life, in a simple purchase at the supermarket.

And that is exactly what defines what the author Shawn Achor calls the Tetris effect: it is the process in which you condition your brain to think in a certain way until it becomes addicted to it and gets caught in that pattern of thinking.

Condition yourself to think positive

The problem with the Tetris effect is that, most likely, you have spent the last few years teaching your brain to think negatively.

When you condition yourself to just think about the negative side of things and feed a pessimistic view, even the best of scenarios will look awful to you. This generates unhappiness, dissatisfaction, and consequently, failure itself.

But you can reverse this pattern by retraining your brain, teaching it to see the positive side of situations.

Overview: Find opportunity in adversity

Rather than seeing problems and mistakes as abominable, use them to gain even more momentum in your drive for success. In other words, turn any situation into a learning opportunity.

Learn how to map the path of success

All the time, your brain is charting possible paths for every decision you make. The problem is that in situations of extreme stress and crisis, many people lose part of their ability to perform this mapping and set aside paths full of opportunity.

In such cases, people see only the negative paths in the face of this new context and give up on doing anything.

The author makes it clear, there are always new ways! And you need to learn to be open to them if you want to achieve happiness and success.

Post-traumatic growth

It is always possible to learn from any disaster. This is something the author calls in his book "The Happiness Advantage", of post-traumatic growth and marks the lives of people who are much more open to happiness.

Tips for Finding Opportunity in Adversity

  • Turn failure into a foundation for success.
  • Do not stop looking for new ways and solutions, regardless of the situation;
  • As a leader, turn crisis into an opportunity to create change business processes;
  • Choose to tell experiences, even negative ones, by seeing the good points.

Overview: The Zorro circle

Surely you have heard of the legend of Zorro, a hero who feeds the imagination of generations. The author Shawn Achor uses the beginning of this hero's trajectory as an example of the 5th principle.

If you have a big mission ahead, or big goals, you often despair and feel that you are losing control of the situation. To regain this control, propose small and tangible goals.

One step at a time, make these small goals what you want to achieve in the long run.

Become the person with control in hand

The author defines that there are 2 types of people:

  1. The person with the locus of internal control: they believe that everything they do directly influences the end result;
  2. The person with the locus of external control: they believe in luck and destiny, and that the end result depends on external forces.

Those with the locus of internal control are much more likely to reverse crises and turn problems into big opportunities.

Tips for taking back control

  • Work on your self-awareness by identifying if your reaction to the situation is being pessimistic/optimistic, and if it is preventing you from moving forward;
  • Identify points of the situation you can control;
  • Propose easy-to-reach initial goals. This generates motivation;
  • Instead of facing a stack of work at a time, separate into small tasks.

Overview: The 20-second rule

After study and observation, the author Shawn Achor realized that the hardest part of changing a habit is related to the effort you need to make to achieve change.

The solution to this? Apply the 20-second rule.

Want a simple example? If you want to learn to play the guitar, instead of leaving it locked in a closet, make it visible and within easy reach.

To make this whole process even more efficient, make it difficult to access the bad habit.

For example, if you feel you spend a lot of time watching television and want to start a habit of reading 1h a day, remove the batteries from the television control (making it hard for you to turn it on) and leave the book on the table by the sofa of the room.

Overview: Social investment

Now another problem that undermines the happiness and chances of success of many entrepreneurs: social isolation.

When faced with stressful situations that require a lot of attention from us, it is normal to get into a process where we move away from friends and devote all our available time to the problem.

The problem is that instead, it helps, it just makes you even more unproductive, impatient, and impulsive. A bad combination in the short and long term.

The author then explains that the ideal is for everyone to make a social investment, whether at work or at home. Go out with friends, hang out with family, and have a good relationship with your co-workers, especially in times of crisis.

Benefits of social investment

  • Having a social support network alleviates the symptoms of stress and reduces anxiety;
  • It is a factor that increases your physical health and life expectancy;
  • At work, a support network feeds the creativity and productivity of the entire team.

What do the other authors say about it?

In the book "Mindset" by psychologist Carol S. Dweck, it discusses how our beliefs shape our behavior and growth. While mindsets produce definitive worldviews, people can change by learning new skills. Human beings can be taught to respond in different ways, how to face challenges, and think differently.

Already in the work "Happiness is Profitable", Márcio Fernandes makes clear that there is no separation between personal and professional life. We are the same person, both at home and at work. When we become more effective leaders, we also become better as friends, parents, peers, children, neighbors, clients, citizens... and vice versa.

For Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton, authors of the "Now, Discover Your Strengths" book, to increase company productivity, the key is to focus on employees' strengths rather than trying to improve weaknesses.

Okay, but how can I apply this to my life?

Now that you know all 7 principles, it's time to put them into practice. One more time:

  • Replace negative habits with positive ones;
  • Create a learning context, even in times of crisis. This is critical to making every situation a success;
  • Work your way of thinking and talking about the things that happen around you: propose much more positive thinking about everything;
  • Don't forget to create your own support network of friends, family, and co-workers.

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Book 'The Happiness Advantage'