The Happiness Advantage

The Happiness Advantage


In April I attended The Colorado Culture of Health Conference at the Marriott in downtown Denver. It was excellent. I enjoyed the whole day. I live Tweeted the heck out of it and I walked away inspired and excited to be working in the corporate wellness industry of today.

Corporate wellness is flourishing with loads of opportunities. I began working in this field in 2004 and the industry has completely changed and evolved from “luxury training programs and employee softball leagues” to necessary, cutting edge wellness advantages for all companies (and individuals) as the new healthcare reform unfolds.

George Karl, the former head coach for the Denver Nuggets gave the lunchtime keynote speech. I enjoyed his talk so much I began researching his work philosophy, personal triumph over two cancers, and his foundation. One of the books he recommends is The Happiness Advantage, by Shawn Achor. I bought it and read it in one weekend, it was honestly that good!

Achor says society’s formula for success and happiness is broken. Traditional thinking states: if we work harder, we’ll be successful, and ultimately happier. Achor argues that is backwards and the formula needs to be reversed. We need to be happy first (with what we have and where we are in life) then true success follows -every single relationship, business, financial, health and educational outcome improves when we feel happy.

  • We must stop equating future success with happiness.
  • We must train our brain to be positive.

Shawn spent over a decade teaching at Harvard University before founding Good Think Inc. to share this research with companies and schools. Over the past three years, Shawn has researched and lectured in 45 different countries about happiness and potential. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and earned a Masters from Harvard Divinity School in Christian and Buddhist ethics.

His book is fantastic and he is a gifted speaker as well. His sense of humor, combined with his insight into happiness helps motivate individuals to make sustainable, life enhancing changes. I’m beginning to incorporate some of his research and case studies into my corporate wellness programs.

Watch Shawn Achor in this video as he speaks about the Happiness Advantage. It’s worth your time and daily wellness practice, I promise. His work is a valuable Healthy Discovery!

The Happiness Advantage: The Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work

1. Write down three new things you are grateful for each day. Research shows this will significantly improve your optimism even six months later, and raises your success rates significantly.

2. Write for two minutes a day describing one positive experience you had over the past 24 hours. This is a strategy to help transform you from a task-based thinker, to a meaning based thinker who scans the world for meaning instead of endless to-dos. This dramatically increases work happiness.

3. Exercise daily. This trains your brain to believe your behavior matters, which causes a cascade of success throughout the rest of the day.

4. Meditate daily. Focus on your breath going in and out. This will help you undo the negative effects of multitasking. Research shows you get multiple tasks done faster if you do them one at a time. It also decreases stress and raises happiness.

5. Random Acts of Kindness. Try writing one, quick email first thing in the morning thanking or praising a member on your team. This significantly increases your feeling of social support, which in a study at Harvard was the largest predictor of happiness.