Oct 21, 2013

The Monday Pep Talk | The Happiness Advantage

If we work hard, we will become successful. And then we will be happy. If we just get that raise or loose those five pounds, we´ll be happy. Success first, happiness second. The problem according to bestselling author and Harvard lecturer Shawn Achor is that this formula is broken. With each victory, our goals of success just keeps getting pushed further and further away, and so happiness gets pushed over the horizon as well.

Mindvalley Academy asked 20 000 people in a survey to rank 12 skills in terms of importance, and the education that they had received in these areas. The 12 skills were things like social skills, entrepreneurship, parenting and family, health and fitness, wealth and abundance and happiness and positive living. The survey concluded that the biggest education gap of them all had "Happiness and positive living", since this was rated the most important factor but had the lowest educational level. This could also confirm why the course in Happiness at Harvard University is one of its most popular courses ever given. In his book The Happiness Advantage Shawn Achor tells how this class became so important. "We thought we´d be lucky to lure in a hundred undergraduates brave enough to risk a hit on their transcripts by foregoing a credit in, say, advanced economic theory for one in happiness." In the following first two semesters over 1 200 students enrolled in the happiness course. "We quickly began to realize that these students were there because despite all the advantages they enjoyed, they still felt unfulfilled."

Sir Richard Branson has said that "more than any other element, fun is the secret to Virgin's success". According to Shawn Achor, this isn´t just because fun is fun, but because fun also leads to bottom-line results, and this is what Shawn Achor wants to prove in his highly acclaimed book.

The book is based on seven principles and many tips on how to become more positive in work life, and how to use it to get better results. One of Shawn Achors concrete tips is to wear rose-tinted glasses. That means, if you only focus on the good, you´ll be blind to real problems. You obviously can´t run a business wearing rose-colored glasses. But, Shawn Achor means that you should instead wear rose-tinted glasses. These let the major problems into our field of vision, but still keeps our focus mainly on the positive. This will give a reasonable, realistic, healthy sense of optimism and fuel success.

Today we know that happiness isn´t the result of success, but is the precursor to success. "Happiness and optimism actually fuel performance and achievement - giving us the competitive edge that I call the Happiness Advantage", says Shawn Achor.

If you´re interested in getting a more positive outlook on work life and to discover the happiness advantage, this well-written book is the one to read.