5 Things I learn from ‘The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life’ – book by Shawn Achor


Have you ever heard that doctors make accurate diagnostic faster when they are happier? And optimistic salespeople outsell the pessimistic ones? These are backed up by reliable research study! It is from Shawn Achor’s bestseller, The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life.  I listened to this book via Audible during my pregnancy and I must say it is one of the greatest listenings. I was very excited all the way through the book hearing all figures and facts they found from their positive psychology research. There is a great deal of scientific evidence on (let me put as) how to be happy. Today, I would like to share what I learn from the book which I keep in mind while living my days. Hope you can apply to your everyday life too. Here you go.

1. To become successful in order to be happy, it’s a trap. As the author stated, It’s the other way around. Happiness itself brings success. When we are happier, our brain functions much better. The book provides seven ways to raise your happiness level throughout the day. My favorites are ‘Find something to look forward to’, ‘Commit conscious Acts of Kindness’ and ‘Exercise (our) signature strength.

2. The power of expectation. When you believe it is true, it becomes true. When people expect you can do, you suddenly or eventually can do. I know this is not new but still a miracle finding for me when it is scientifically proven to be real.

3. You see what your mind is looking for. In this book, the ‘Tetris Effect’ study is used to explain the brain’s abilities to scan for what you are focusing. When a person plays Tetris game all day and 3 days in a row and then walks outside, he couldn’t stop seeing the Tetris block everywhere. I found it so true and fascinating. It resonates with me with my shopping habit. When I’m obsessed to buy something, let’s say a particular handbag, I suddenly found many ladies with that same handbag everywhere. The recommendation is if you want good things in your life, just start looking for them. Writing a gratitude journal is one way to start.

4. New habits come along with simplicity.  Our brain is super lazy, it resists changes. To adopt a new positive habit is to make it super easy for the brain to operate. I found the author’s way to start new habit very useful, he said “Lower the activation energy for habits you want to adopt and raise it for habits you 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.” He puts it as the 20-second rule. Make the new habit reachable in 20 seconds and you are more likely to achieve them.

5. The power of social connection. Considering myself as an introvert, I used to undervalue the power of social connection. Well…how I can be so wrong. When I look back on every stage of my life, what made me come this far is only support from people around me. As stated in the book “When we encounter an unexpected challenge or threats, the only way to save ourselves is to hold on tight to the people around us and not let go”.   Think about it, how hard is it to survive the darkest time if you are alone? How hard is it to survive in the new place if you do not make new friends? From my experience of a few years studying abroad, I can tell that life will be a struggle if you have no one around to hold on to.

There are many more valuable ideas from this book and again a lot of studies (I love the studies!) I hope you can integrate some of them into your life or just keeping them in mind like me. After all, it never hurts to plan for happiness.
To another positive day, cheers!

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