leadership | October 03, 2013

The Happiness Advantage: Speaker Shawn Achor On Positivity & Success

Shawn Achor, a popular leadership speaker, wants you to change your opinion on not only happiness, but also, and consequently, the way you view education, business, and personal growth. Is his hilarious and insightful TEDx Talk (embedded above), the Good Think, Inc. CEO says the formula to success and happiness that's been instilled in us is broken and backwards. We shouldn't be following the mandate that "If i work harder, I'll be more successful, and if I'm more successful, then I'll be happier." We need to reverse that. Our brains actually help us to be more successful when we focus on happiness as a goal, not just an end result. Further, he says that: "Normal is merely average and what I posit, and what positive psychology posits, is that if we study what is merely average—we will remain merely average."

Above: Achor gives a passionate and wildly entertaining TEDx Talk. He draws from his work both at Good Think, Inc., and from his book, The Happiness Advantage, to explain how he researches positive outliers—people who are well above average—to understand where human potential, success, and happiness intersect.

Here's a breakdown of his talk on "Peak Performance":

Most companies and schools follow this formula: if you work harder, you will be more successful, and then you will be happy. This formula is scientifically backward. A decade of research shows that training your brain to be positive at work first actually fuels greater success second. In fact, 75% of our job success is predicted not by intelligence, but by your optimism, social support network, and the ability to manage energy and stress in a positive way. By researching top performers at Harvard, the world's largest banks, and Fortune 500 companies, Shawn discovered patterns that create a happiness advantage for positive outliers—the highest performers at a company. Based on his new book, The Happiness Advantage (from Random House), Shawn explains what positive psychology is, how much we can change, and practical applications for reaping the Happiness Advantage in the midst of change and challenge.

Up Next

education | October 02, 2013