The Happiness Advantage

The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor is an excellent book. This book will soon be on my bookshelf.  Below is an excerpt from the book.

The Happiness Advantage


Once I’d finished gathering and analyzing this massive amount of research, I was able to isolate seven specific, actionable, and proven patterns that predict success and achievement.

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.

The Fulcrum and the Lever– How we experience the world, 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 away that gives us the power (the lever) to be more fulfilled and successful.

The Tetris Effect-When our brains get stuck in a pattern that focuses on stress, negativity, and failure, we set ourselves up to fail. This principle teaches us how to retrain our brains to spot patterns of possibility, so we can see-and seize-opportunity wherever we look.

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 out of failure or suffering, but teaches us to be happier and more successful because of it.

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.

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.

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.

Together, these Seven Principles helpedHarvardstudents (and later, tens of thousands of people in the “real world”) overcome obstacles, reverse bad habits, become more efficient and productive, make the most of opportunities, conquer their most ambitious goals, and reach their fullest potential.


Rippling Outward

This theory holds that our attitudes and behaviors don’t only infect the people we interact with directly-like our colleagues, friends, and families-but that each individual’s influence actually appears to extend to people within three degrees. So when you use these principles to make positive changes in your own life, you are unconsciously shaping the behavior of an incredible number of people. AsJamesFowlerexplains it, “I know that I’m not just having an impact on my son, I’m potentially having an impact on my son’s best friend’s mother,’? This influence adds up; Fowler and Christakis estimate that there are nearly 1,000 people within three degrees of most of us. This is a true ripple effect-by trying to make ourselves happier and more successful, we actually have the ability to improve the lives of 1,000 people around us.


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