The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work – Shawn Achor

From amazon.com:

Shawn Achor is the winner of over a dozen distinguished teaching awards at Harvard University, where he delivered lectures on positive psychology in the most popular class at Harvard. Today Shawn travels around the world giving talks on positive psychology to Fortune 500 companies, schools, and non-profit organizations. He has worked with doctors in California, executives in Hong Kong, teachers in South Africa, and bankers in Switzerland. Shawn graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and earned a Masters degree from Harvard Divinity School in Christian and Buddhist ethics. In 2006, he served as Head Teaching Fellow with Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar of “Positive Psychology,” a class that enrolled 1 out of every 7 Harvard undergraduates. For seven years, Shawn also served as an Officer of Harvard, living in Harvard Yard and counseling students through the stresses of their first year. Though he now travels extensively for his work with Aspirant, Shawn continues to conduct original psychology research on happiness and organizational achievement.

TOC

Part One: Positive Psychology at Work

  • Introduction
  • Discovering the Happiness Advantage
  • The Happiness Advantage at Work
  • Change is Possible

Part Two: Seven Priciples

  • Principle #1: The Happiness Advantage
  • Principle #2: The Fulcrum and The Lever
  • Principle #3: The Tetris Effect
  • Principle #4: Falling Up
  • Principle #5: The Zorro Circle
  • Principle #6: The 20-second Rule
  • Principle #7: Social Investment

Part Three: The Ripple Effect

  • Spreading The Happiness Advantage at Work, at Home, and Beyond

Short Summary

Part1 – Positive Psychology at Work

  •  we now know that happiness is the precursor to success, not merely the result. And that happiness and optimism actually fuel performance and achievement
  • in 200 studies on 275,000 people worldwide:  happiness leads to success in nearly every domain, including work, health, friendship, sociability, creativity, and energy.

Part 2: Seven Priciples

Principle #1: The Happiness Advantage
  • When we are happy—when our mindset and mood are positive—we are smarter, more motivated, and thus more successful. Happiness is the center, and success revolves around it.
  • Happiness boosters: meditation, looking forward to something, commit conscious acts of kindness, exercise, Spend money (but NOT on Stuff), exercise a Signature Strength, ..
Principle #2: The Fulcrum & The Lever
Changing your Peformance by changing your Mindset
  • Happiness is not about lying to ourselves, or turning a blind eye to the negative, but about adjusting our brain so that we see the ways to rise above our circumstances.
  • The mental construction of our daily activities, more than the activity itself, defines our reality.
  • The heart of the challenge is to stop thinking of the world as fixed when reality is, in truth, relative.
Principle #3 – The Tetris Effect
Training Your Brain to Capitalize on Possibility
  • Train your brain to scan the world for the opportunities and ideas that allow our success rate to grow.
  • The best way to kick-start this is to start making a daily list of the good things in your job, your career, and your life.
Principle #4 – Falling Up
Capitalizing on the downs to build Upward Momentum
  • Study after study shows that if we are able to conceive of a failure as an opportunity for growth, we are all the more likely to experience that growth
  • It’s about using that downward momentum to propel ourselves in the opposite direction. It’s about capitalizing on setbacks and adversity to become even happier, even more motivated, and even more successful. It’s not falling down, it’s falling up.
Principle #5 – The Zorro Circle
How Limiting Your Focus to Small, Manageable Goals Can Expand Your Sphere of Power
  • Feeling that we are in control, that we are masters of our own fate at work and at home, is one of the strongest drivers of both well-being and performance.
  • Happiness, and health have less to do with how much control we actually have and more with how much control we think we have.
  • No matter what you may have heard from motivational speakers, coaches, and the like, reaching for the stars is a recipe for failure.
  • As Harvard Business School professor Peter Bregman advises, “Don’t write a book, write a page.
Principle #6 – The 20-Second Rule
How to Turn Bad Habits into Good Ones by minimizing Barriers to Change
  • Common sense is not common action….
    That’s why even though doctors know better than anyone the importance of exercise and diet, 44 percent of them are overweight.
  • Our willpower weakens the more we use it.
  • The key to creating these habits is ritual, repeated practice, until the actions become ingrained in your brain’s neural chemistry. And the key to daily practice is to put your desired actions as close to the path of least resistance as humanly possible.
Priciple #7 – Social Investment
Why Social support is your single Greatest asset
  • social relationships are the single greatest investment you can make in the Happiness Advantage.

3. The Ripple effect

  • Each one of us is like that butterfly (re: the butterfly effect). And each tiny move towards a more positive mindset can send ripples of positivity through our organizations, our families, and our communities.
  • Emotions are highly contagious… both negative emotions & positive emotions

 

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Best “Personal Development” books I read in 2012

The year 2012 is coming to an end and a part of my reflection process is to look back on books I’ve read this year.

Some of them I even read twice.. & some I have blogged about.

Anyways here is my top 20 list

  1. The Emotional Life of Your Brain: How Its Unique Patterns Affect the Way You Think, Feel, and Live–and How You Can Change Them
    – Richard J. Davidson (Author), Sharon Begley (Author)
  2. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
    – Dan H. Pink
  3. A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy
    – William B. Irvine
  4. The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work
    ~Shawn Achor
  5. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
    ~Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
     
  6.  A Whole New Mind: why right-brainers will rule the future
    ~Dan H. Pink
  7. Man’s Search for Meaning
    ~Viktor E. Frankl
  8.  Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery
    ~Garr Reynolds
  9.  Outliers: The Story of Success
    ~Malcolm Gladwell
  10. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
    ~Steven Pressfield
  11. Mojo: How to get it, How to keep it, How to get it back if you loose it
    ~Marshall Goldsmith & Mark Reiter 
  12. Wherever You Go, There You Are
    ~Jon Kabat-Zinn 
  13. The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home
    ~Dan Ariely 
  14. 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot
    ~Richard Wiseman 
  15. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
    ~Charles Duhigg 
  16. Rewire Your Brain: Think Your Way to a Better Life
    ~John B. Arden 
  17. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
    ~Steven D. Levitt (Author), Stephen J. Dubner (Author) 
  18. Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential to Transform Ourselves
    ~Sharon Begley 
  19. Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation
    ~Daniel J. Siegel 
  20. Don’t Die with Your Song Unsung
    ~Gary Russo 
All these books are very good… and top 10 is essential & highly recommended.
I’ve mindmapped many of them & will create blogposts when time allows it.
My top 5 Music books read in 2012 will be posted on johannasvisons.com (our music website) soon.

Habit #7 – Falling Up – update

This is not a daily habit.. hopefully.

But it’s a good habit to learn.. we all “fall” now and then.

It’s about using that downward momentum to propel ourselves in the opposite direction. It’s about capitalizing on setbacks and adversity to become even happier, even more motivated, and even more successful. It’s not falling down, it’s falling up.
–Shawn Achor

Shawn Achor has written brilliantly about this in his  beautiful book “The Happiness Advantage“. Please check out my post about the book.

A “fall” is the perfect opportunity personal growth. Try to remember with each small or big setback to be better at something. Be kinder to people around you, be more grateful, smile more, visit friends and family more often, travel, go to concerts, … etc.

Meet “the fall” with more happiness…..

Study after study shows that if we are able to conceive of a failure as an opportunity for growth, we are all the more likely to experience that growth
–Shawn Achor

Victor Frankl writes about three main avenues on which one arrives at meaning in life:

  1. By creating a work or doing a deed (..work..)
  2. By experiencing something or encountering someone (..love..)
  3. Most important, however:
    Even the helpless victim of a hopeless situation.. may rise above himself, may grow beyond himself, and by doing so change himself. He may turn a personal tragedy into a triumph.

Scott Dinsmore:

Every screwup gets you closer to your masterpiece. Make mistakes as often as you can. Start falling.

Shawn Achor @ ted.com

ted bio:

Shawn Achor is the winner of over a dozen distinguished teaching awards at Harvard University, where he delivered lectures on positive psychology in the most popular class at Harvard.

He is the CEO of Good Think Inc., a Cambridge-based consulting firm which researches positive outliers — people who are well above average — to understand where human potential, success and happiness intersect. Based on his research and 12 years of experience at Harvard, he clearly and humorously describes to organizations how to increase happiness and meaning, raise success rates and profitability, and create positive transformations that ripple into more successful cultures. He is also the author of The Happiness Advantage.

His talk:

We believe that we should work to be happy, but could that be backwards? In this fast-moving and entertaining talk from TEDxBloomington, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that actually happiness inspires productivity.

My grade: 6/6