Happiness is a pursuit. Everyone is running after Happiness. All our activities, even if we dislike is pursuing Happiness for the future. We discount present Happiness for unknown and uncertain future Happiness.
Whether have we understood the Happiness? Usual belief is once we have something or some experience or some possession or some relationship or achieve some goal – we will be happy. This is aptly stated by the author Shawn Achor in his book Happiness Advantage. He says;
If you work hard, you will become successful and once you become successful, then you will be happy. ….. We think If I just get a raise, or hit the next sales target, I will be happy, if I can just get that next good grade, I will be happy. If I lose that five pounds, I will be happy. And so on. Success first, happiness second.
But this is a myth. We have many achievers, but once they achieve their goal posts, shifts the goal and thus happiness is pushed over the horizon. The author argues there is a research which suggests a relationship between happiness and success is in fact reverse. Happiness is the precursor to success. Happiness and optimism actually fuel performance and achievement giving us the competitive edge i.e. Happiness Advantage.
Happiness – Seven Principles
The Happiness Advantage: Because positive brains have a biological advantage over brains that are neutral or negative, this principle teaches us how to retain our brains to capitalise 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 a way that gives 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 of failure or suffering but teaches us to be happier and more successful because of it.
The Zorro Circle: When challenges loom ad we get overwhelmed, our rational brains can get hijacked by emotions. This principle teaches us how to regain control by focussing 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 our 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.
The author has surveyed 1600 undergraduate students from Harvard and found how these seven principles helped them to overcome obstacles, reverse bad habits, become more efficient and productive, make the most of the opportunities, conquer their most ambitious goal and reach their fullest potential.
This is very important as Author says;
When we are happy, when our mindset and mood are positive – we are smarter, more motivated, and thus more successful. Happiness is the center, and success resolves around it.
Out of the seven rules, I found Social Investment, the last one, very powerful. Aren’t we happy with friends and family members? One of the longest surveys which ran for 70 years concludes;
Our relationship with other people matter, and matter more than anything else in the world.
Happiness is not only important your our individual success, but it has a ripple effect. A Happy person can influence 1000 people within three degrees. This was very aptly stated by Danial Goleman;
Like secondhand smoke, the leakage of emotions can make a bystander an innocent casualty of someone else’s toxic state.
This means positive and negative – both emotions can have a ripple effect. This has an instant proof. Why people cry and laugh with the characters’ situations in movies, even if they are illusionary?
The best thing is, having known Happiness Advantage, applying the same in our daily life situations can give us a competitive advantage. Remember: Happiness First, Success follows. The book offers excellent examples of real life situations which are worth experiencing.