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The Happiness Advantage

The Happiness Advantage

by Shawn Achor

1.Success and happiness

  • The rulling powers continue to tell us that if we just put our nose to the grindstone and work hard now, we will be successful, and therefore happier, in some distant future.
  •  As we work towards our goals, happiness is either irrelevant or an easily dispensable luxur...

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2.Changing your mindset

  • According to Einstein's Special Theory of Rulativity, many of the seemingly inviolable laws of the universe become altered based on the observer.
  • While we of course can't change reality through sheer force of will alone, we can use our brain to change how we ...

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Everyone is different

  • Obviously, there are people for whom this positivity come more naturally.
  • While we each have a happiness baseline that we fluctuate arround on a daily basis, with concerted effort, we can raise that baseline permanently so that even when we are going...

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What is happiness?

  • Happiness is the experience of positive emotions; pleasure combined with deeper feelings of meaning and purpose.
  • Martin Seligman has broken it down into three measurable components: pleasure, engagement and meaning.
  • The happi...

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Infuse positivity in your surroundings

  • People who flank their computers with pictures of loved ones aren't just decorating, they're ensuring a hit of positive emotion each time they glance in that direction.
  • Studies have shown that the less negative TV we warch, specifically violent media, the happier we ...

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Meditation

Here are a number of proven ways we can improve oun meeds and raise our levels of happiness throughout the day:

  • Meditate: Neuroscientists have found that monks who spend years meditating actually grow their prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain most respons...

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Mastery and health

  • Excercise: physical activity releases pleasure inducing chemicals called endorphins, but that's not the only benefit as the feelings of mastery and motivation have many other rewards.
  • Practice a signature strenght:

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Anticipation and Kindness

  • Find something to look forward to: often, the most enjoyable part of an activity is the anticipation. Anticipating future rewards can actually light up pleassure centers in your brain as much as the actual reward.
  • Commit conscious acts of kindness: giving to friend...

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Expectancy Theory

  • So how exactly is it that our relative perception of what is happening, or what we think will happen, can actually affect what does happen?
  • One answer is that the brain is organized to act on what we predict will happen next, something psychologists ...

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Job, Career or Calling

Employees have one of three work orientations or mindsets about our work. We view our work as a Job, a Career or a Calling.

  • Job: work is a chore and their paycheck is the reward. They work because they have to.
  • Career...

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"We're not saving dolphins here"

"To be honest, it has to be about money; we're not saving dolphins here." 

This executive had unwittingly primed his employees for failure. Here's what he had effectively said: "Saving the delphins is meaningful and has a positive effect on the world, while the job you're in pr...

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3. The Tetris Effect

  • Researchers paid 27 people to play Tetris for multiple hours a day, three days in a row. 
  • For days after the study, some participants literally couldn't stop dreaming about shapes falling. They become stuck in something ralled a "cognitive afterimage".

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We are rewarded for being negative

  • We are often rewarded for noticing the preblems that need solving, the stresses that need managing and the injustices that need righting.
  • The problem is that if we get stuck in only that pattern, always looking for and picking up on the negative, eve...

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What we are required to do at work

  • Lawyers are 3.6 times more likely to suffer from major depressive disorder than the rest of the employed population.
  • This might seem a relatively surprising finding given that lawyers have high levels of education, pay and status, but in fact,

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Positivity

  • Brains have a filter that only lets the most pertinent information through to our consciousness. 
  • If we have programmed our brain's filter to delete the positive, that data will cease to exist for us.
  • Imagine a way of looking a the world that constantly picked up on t...

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A list of positives

  • The best way to kickstart this is to start makind a daily list of the good things in your life.
  • Just as it takes days of concentrated practice to master a video game, training your brain to notice more opportunities takes practice focusing on the positive.
  • Ov...

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Rose tinted glasses

  • As the name implies, rose tinted glasses let the really major problems into our field of vision, while still keeping our focus largely on the positive.
  • The ideal mindset isn't heedless of risk but it does give priority to the good.

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Practice, practice, practice

  • As with any skill, the more we practice, the more easily and naturally it comes.
  • The best way to ensure follow through on a desired activity is to make it a habit
  • The key is to ritualize the task.
  • Given the choice between seeing the world through rose...

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4.Learning from our failures

  • The brain is constantly creating and revising mental maps to help navigate our way through this complex and ever changing world.
  • Early failure is often the fuel for the very ideas that eventually transform industries and reinvent careers.
  • Psychologists actual...

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Evil dog experiment

  • There was an experiment with dogs pairing bell noices with small shocks to see how they would react to the bell alone.
  • They created a room divided into two, on which they would be shocked on one side, but on the other side they would be safe from sho...

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Counterfacts and helplessness

  • When life delivers us a shock, we can become so hopeless that we respond simply by giving up. Helplessness is a belief in the futility of our actions.
  • A counterfact is an alternate scenario our brains create to help us evaluate and make sense of what really happened....

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Explanatory style

  • An explanatory style means how we choose to explain the nature of past events.
  • People with an optimistic explanatory style see these events as being local and temporary.
  • Those with a pessimistic explanatory s...

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5.The Zorro circle

  • Limiting your focus to small and manageable goals can expand your sphere of power.
  • One of the biggest drivers of success is the belief that our behavior matters; that we have control over our future.
  • By first limiting the scope of our efforts...

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Stoic Activity

  • Write your stresses, daily challenges and goals, then separate them into two categories: things that you have control over and things you don't.
  • Identify one small goal you know you can quickly accomlpish.
  • Concentrate your efforts on small ar...

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Start small

  • Unwillingness to start with small circles and take too much at once nearly guarantees failure and we don't feel good about it.
  • In today's results obsessed workplace, it's no wonder we're impatient and overly ambitious.
  • No matter what you may ...

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Tiny fixes

  • When you are stressed and afraid to do a job, not only you want to avoid it but you may feel so overwhelmed by the situation you don't feel like doing any work at all.
  • When the challenges we face are particularly challenging and the payoff remains far away, setting s...

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Time limit

Without a time limit, even small tasks can quickly escalate back into an overwhelming challenge with no end in sight.

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6. The 20 second rule

  • Turn bad habits into good ones by minimizing barriers to change.
  • Habits form because our brain actually changes in response to frequent practice.
  • Common wisdom has long proposed that it takes 21 days to make a habit.
  • It's not the numb...

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Common sense is not common action

  • In life, knowledge is only part of the battle. Without action, knowledge is often meaningless.
  • We all know that we should excercise, sleep eight hours and be kind to others, but does this common knowledge make doing this things any easier?

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We are mere bundles of habits

  • Humans are biologically prone to habit, and it is because we are "mere bundles of habits" that we are able to automatically perform many of our daily tasks.
  • It is precisely because we are so automatic that we rarely stop to think about the enormous r...

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Willpower it's not the way

  • Any dietician will tell you that relying on willpower to complitely avoid unhealthy food nearly guarantees relapse.
  • We think we can go from 0 to 60 in an instant, changing or overturning ingrained life habits through the sheer force of will.
  • ...

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The path of least resistance

  • The more often we succumb to this path, the more difficult it becomes to change directions.
  • We are drown powerfully, magnetically, to those things that are easy, convenient and habitual and it's incredibly dificult to overcome this inertia.
  • T...

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Change your default

  • Default options are everywhere, shaping our choices and our behavior in all areas of our lives.
  • Active leisure like hobbies, games and sports enhance our concentration, engagement and sense of enjoyment.
  • Exercise in the morning

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Creating a habit is a ritual

  • The book is full of ways we can capitalize on the happiness advantage, but without actually putting those strategies into action, they remain useless.
  • The key to creating habits is ritual, repeated practice, until the actions become ingrained into your brain'...

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7. Social support is your greatest asset.

  • We don't have to go to the brink of a collapsing economy to understand how easy it is to retreat into our own shells at the moment we need to be reaching out to others the most.
  • As for time with family and friends, well, these things are the first to go when ...

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Social support and success

  • Social support was a far greater predictor of happiness than any other factor, more than GPA, income, SAT scores, age, gender or race.
  • Surrounded by people, big challenges feel more manageable and small challenges don't even register on the radar.

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Glue guys

  • The people who actively invest in their relationships are the heart and soul of a thriving organization, the force that drives their teams forward; in sports, these people are called "glue guys".
  • It's important that we work on being present, both physically and mentally. Tha...

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Good times

  • Not only do we need to invest in new relationships, we should always be reinvesting in our current relationships because, like our stocks, social support networks grow stronger the longer they are held.
  • A research suggests that how we support people during go...

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Listening and responses

  • There are different types of responses we can give to someone's good news, and only one of them contributes positively.
  • The winning response is both active and constructive; it offers enthusiastic support, as well as specific comments and fol...

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8. Conclusion

  • No matter where I am in the world, most people thinks this research is useful for them, but even more useful for all the people arround them.
  • The person we have the greatest power to change is ourselves.

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Daniel goleman

Like second hand smoke, the leakage of emotions can make a bystander an innocent casualty of someone else's toxic state

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Spread the word

  • Sit around an unsmiling or anxious boss for too long, and you too will start to feel sad or stressed, regardless of how you felt originally.
  • The happier everyone is around you, the happier you will become. This is why we laugh more at a funny movie when we're in a th...

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