The Science of Happiness

I recently had the privilege of hearing Harvard rock-star professor, Shawn Achor, discuss the brain’s response to positivity and the sociology of happiness.

Pretty simple stuff, really. And yet profoundly powerful and roundly ignored.

Most companies and schools follow the flawed perception that “if I work harder, I’ll be successful. If I become successful, then I’ll be happier.”

Achor points out “that the way we perceive success is broken and backwards….  Everytime we have success, we just change the goalpost for what success looks like… you got a good grade, not you have to get a better grade. Get into a good school, try for a better school. Get a good job, look for a better one. Hit your sales target, now we’re going to change your sales target.”

“If happiness is on the other side of success, then your brain never gets there.” In other words, we believe that happiness will come from success, and yet we consistently push success out of reach.

As Shawn points out, if we reverse the formula and strive for happiness, then success will follow. “If you can raise someone’s happiness and positivity in the present, then the brain experiences something we now call the Happiness Advantage…your intelligence rises, your creativity rises…and every single business outcome improves.”

In the video below, Shawn offers five exercises to help you train your brain to be more positive.

Shawn Achor, “The Happiness Advantage”