The Happiness Advantage: Condensed Notes

The Happiness Advantage

by Shawn Achor

Condensed Notes

Positive Psychology at Work

Most people are taught that if you work hard, you will become successful, then you'll be happy. Success first, happiness second. If I can just get that raise, get in to that school, lose those 5 pounds� (p.3)

This formula is backwards. Happiness first, success second. If it worked the other way, we'd all be happy and satisfied once we got what we were after. Instead, we keep moving the goalposts of success. (p.3)

Problems in traditional psychology arise because we study what is average, not what is above average, and we study the negative (ratio of 17-to-1 negative (depression/disorder) to positive (happiness/thriving) in research studies) - dysfunction and how to survive, not how to thrive. (p.11)

The author has identified 7 principles of positive psychology that can be utilized to achieve happiness first, so that success can follow. (p.17)

Principles have been taught to and used by large corporations, including companies such as American Express and some of the world's largest banks (just as the 2008 financial collapse was occurring). (p.20)

A meta-analysis of over 200 studies on 275,000 people worldwide had similar findings: happiness leads to success in work, health, friendship, sociability, creativity, and energy. (p.21)

Neuroplasticity � once thought impossible, neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to change in response to our actions an circumstances. An example given is a person blinded in a freak accident whose brain is forced to work with his index finger to read braille. When stimulated, that braille-reading finger, unlike the others, caused a large area of cortical mass to respond in his brain. (p.26)

The implication is that our potential for intellectual and personal growth are equally malleable. We can rewire our brains to be more positive, creative, resilient, and productive. (p.29)