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Is happiness the secret of success?

By By Shawn Achor | August 6th 2012

By Shawn Achor

Some people think if you are happy, you are blind to reality. But when we research it, happiness actually raises every single business and educational outcome for the brain.

How did we miss this? Why do we have these societal misconceptions about happiness? Because we assumed you were average. When we study people, scientists are often interested in what the average is. If we study what is merely average, we will remain merely average. Many people think happiness is genetic.  That’s only half the story, because the average person does not fight their genes.

 When we stop studying the average and begin researching positive outliers, people who are above average for a positive dimension like optimism or intelligence, a wildly different picture emerges. Our daily decisions and habits have a huge impact upon both our levels of happiness and success.

 Impact of happiness

The single greatest advantage in the modern economy is a happy and engaged workforce. Scientifically, happiness is a choice. It is a choice about where your single processor brain will devote its finite resources as you process the world. 

If you scan for the negative first, your brain literally has no resources left over to see the things you are grateful for or the meaning embedded in your work.

But if you scan the world for the positive, you start to reap an amazing advantage. In The Happiness Advantage, I challenge readers to do one brief positive exercise every day for 21 days.      


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