Principal #4 Falling Up
author: Shawn Achor; these are my notes to get a quicker read of the amazing book “The Happiness Advantage”
Capitalizing on the downs to build upward momentum. Study after study shows that if we are able to conceive of a failure as an opportunity for growth. We are all the more likely to experience that growth. Conversely, if we conceive of a fall as the worst thing in the world, it becomes just that. The ability to move up not despite the setbacks, but because of the set backs.
Everybody is aware of Post_Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD) and for good reasons. However the far better path of Post_Traumatic Growth gets usually too easily overlooked. Also known as “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”. Thanks to Tedeshi’s study, today you can say for certain, not just anecdotally, that great suffering or trauma can actually lead to great positive change across a wide range of experiences. So what distinguishes the people who find growth in these experiences from those who don’t? There are a number of mechanisms involved, but not surprisingly, mindset takes center stage. People’s ability to find the path up rests largely on how they conceive of the cards they have been dealt. So the strategies that most often lead to Adversarial Growth include: reinterpretation of the situation or event, optimism, acceptance, and coping mechanisms that include focusing on the problem head-on(rather than trying to avoid or deny it).
Eureka, We Failed
Tal BeShadar writes in The Pursuit of Perfect, “we can only learn to deal with failure by actually experiencing failure, by living through it”.
How the Third Path gets Hidden
The problem is when we eliminate any upward options from our mental maps, and worse, eliminate our motivation to search for them. We end up undermining our ability to tackle the challenge at hand.
Crisis as a catalyst
As much as a personal crisis can provide the foundation for positive individual growth and the same applies to companies. Companies can use recessions to reevaluate and improve their business practices. For every company that slims down its operation. Another discovers new ways of doing things that should have been in effect for years but were overlooked during the boom.
Change your explanatory style
Decades of study have shown that explanatory style-how we choose to explain the nature of past events-has a crucial impact on our happiness and future success.
People with an optimistic explanatory style interpret adversity as being local and temporary. While those with a pessimistic explanatory style see these events as more global and permanent. Their beliefs then directly affect their actions; the ones who believe the latter statement sink into helplessness and stop trying. While the ones who believe the former are spurred on to higher performance.
Success is about more than resilience. It’s about using that downward momentum to propel ourselves in the opposite direction. It’s about capitalizing on setbacks and adversity to become even happier, even more motivated, and even more successful. It’s not falling down, it’s falling up.