The Happiness Advantage

The Happiness Advantage

Now, this is a departure from my usual health and safety-related topic, however, I happened to read a blog by Charlotte Grysolle who mentioned Shawn Achor’s work on neuroplasticity. This is the idea that we can rewire and change our brain. This piqued my interest, and I immediately purchased his two books “The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Fuels Success and Performance at Work” and “Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness, and Sustaining Positive Change”


Shawn has spent over a decade living, researching, and teaching sections at Harvard University and explains how we can reprogramme our brains to become more positive to gain a competitive edge at work. He has isolated the following seven practical and actionable principles:

  1. The Happiness Advantage: Positive brains have an advantage over neutral or negative brains; this principal teaches us how to leverage the positivity to improve outcomes.
  2. The Fulcrum and the Lever: How we perceive, and experience life is determined by our mindset. This principle teaches us that by adjusting the fulcrum of our mindset and lengthening the lever of possibility we change what is possible.
  3. The Tetris Effect: how to retrain our brains to spot patterns of possibility, so we can see and seize opportunities wherever we look. Constantly scanning the world for the negative comes with a great cost. It undercuts our creativity, raises our stress levels, and lowers our motivation and ability to accomplish goals
  4. Falling Up: When we experience stress, anxiety, and failure, our brains form different neurological pathways to enable us to cope with these negative conditions. This principle teaches us to not only forge the pathways to overcome the negativity but also to be happier and more successful as a result, or stated differently, how to learn from our mistakes and setbacks and to be happier for it.
  5. The Zorro Circle: the principle by which we can regain control when feeling overwhelmed by focusing on small and manageable goals, and gradually expanding the circle to achieve increasingly bigger ones.
  6. The 20-Second Rule: how we can lower the activation energy for habits we want to adopt and raise it for habits we want to avoid. The more we can lower or even eliminate the activation energy for our desired actions, the more we enhance our ability to jump-start positive change.
  7. Social Investment: how to reap the dividends of investing in our social support network


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Date Posted: 05 July 2022