The Happiness Advantage

Part Two- The Seven Principles

author: Shawn Achor; these are my notes to get a quicker read of the amazing book “The Happiness Advantage”

Happiness Advantage

Principle #1 – The Happiness Advantage

Traditionally it was believed that if we work hard enough, we will be successful. And only if we are successful will we become happy. Now, thanks to breakthroughs in the field of positive psychology, we are learning the opposite is true. When we are happy-when our mindset and mood are positive-we are smarter. more motivated, and thus more successful. Definition of happiness according to the author: happiness is the joy we feel striving after our potential.
Then a litany of research examples in the book show how a positive mood improves productivity. Or how a positive mood simply gets you superior results.

How to boost your mindset?


Neuroscientists have found that monks who spend years meditating actually grow their left prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain most responsible for feeling happy. Regular meditation of only 5 mins a day can permanently rewire the brain to raise levels of happiness, lower stress, even improve immune function.

Find something to Look Forward to

Anticipating future rewards can actually light up the pleasure centers in your brain much as the actual reward will.

Commit Conscious Acts of kindness

A long line of empirical research, including one study of over 2,000 people, has shown that acts of altruism-giving to friends and strangers alike-decrease stress and strongly contribute to enhanced mental health. Try completing 5 acts of kindness over the course of one day.

Infuse Positivity into your surroundings

Flank your computer with pictures of loved ones. Make time to go outside on a nice day, to boost a positive mood, to broaden your thinking and improve working memory. Keep away negative emotions by watching less TV.


You have probably heard that exercise releases pleasure inducing chemicals called endorphins, but that’s not its only benefit. Physical activity can boost mood and enhance our work performance in a number of other ways as well. And by improving motivation and feelings of mastery. And by reducing stress and anxiety. And by helping us get into the zone.

Spend Money (but not on stuff)

Spending money on experiences, especially ones with other people produces positive emotions that are both more meaningful and more lasting than spending on material things. Spending money on other people, called “prosocial spending”, also boosts happiness.

Exercise a Signature Strength

Each time we use a skill(we are good at), whatever it is, we experience a burst of positivity. Even better is exercising a strength of character, a trait that is deeply embedded in who we are. Identify your top 5 strengths at and take the survey.

Putting the horse before the cart: leading with the happiness advantage

The best leaders use the Happiness Advantage as a tool to motivate their teams and maximize employee potential. One way is simply to provide frequent recognition and encouragement. Recognition when specific and deliberately delivered is even more motivating than money. Many ways of doing this creatively.

The Losada Line

Based on Marcial Losada’s extensive modeling, 2.9013 is the ratio of positive to negative interactions necessary to make a corporate team successful. This means it takes about three positive comments, experiences, or expressions to fend off the languishing effects of one negative. Dip below this point, known as the Losada Line and the workplace performance quickly suffers. Rise above it-ideally, the research shows, to a ratio of 6 to 1- and teams produce their very best.


Author: tedvanderende

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