The Happiness Advantage (Shawn Achor) - Book Summary

The Happiness Advantage (Shawn Achor) - Book Summary

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we're often told that if we work hard we'll be successful and if we're successful then we'll be happy as a society we've tied our pursuit of happiness to the idea of success but what if we've got the equation the wrong way around what if success isn't the key ingredient of happiness but actually a product of it hey friends welcome back to the channel and to another episode of book club the series where i summarize the key insights and ideas from some of my favorite books and today we're looking at the happiness advantage by sean anker it's a book that shows us how happiness and positivity give us a competitive edge by making us more engaged motivated and productive
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sean is a professor of positive psychology at harvard and is one of the leading experts on human potential using his own research along with decades of scientific studies and examples from the real world he shows that the standard formula that happiness follows success is fundamentally broken his research isolates seven specific patterns that show us how we can capitalize on the happiness advantage to maximize our potential both in our personal and professional lives the first principle involves understanding the happiness equation in our society the conventional view is that if we work harder then we'll be more successful and if we're successful then we'll be
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happier but studies from the field of positive psychology have shown that apparently this formula is not legit sean argues that we actually have the formula backwards that success doesn't result in happiness but rather happiness is the key ingredient of success in other words by reversing the formula we can maximize our own potential and actually research from over 200 studies on happiness and psychology with over 275 000 participants has shown that happiness leads to success in so many different domains as sean argues waiting to be happy limits our brain's potential for success whereas cultivating positive brains
01:32
makes us more motivated efficient resilient creative and productive which drives performance upwards so that's what sean means by the happiness advantage it's the advantage we have in all of the different domains of our lives from like relationships health jobs creativity productivity like all of the different things and he talks about lots of different evidence-based tactics that we can use to increase our own baseline levels of happiness i'm going to do another video on the ways that research has shown that we can actually make ourselves more happy but some of the things he talks about in the book are number one meditation number two finding something to look forward to as research shows that the most enjoyable part of an
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activity is not the activity itself but the anticipation thirdly committing to conscious acts of kindness fourthly exercise and fifthly using a signature character strength which he elaborates more on in the book so we know that happiness is largely a choice and there are different things we can do to increase our own levels of happiness but sean argues that mindset is one of the most important things and that brings us to point number two in this video which is the fulcrum and the lever in the immortal words of albus dumbledore give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it and i shall move the world sure argues that our brains operate on this formula too
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and he says that our power to maximize our potential is based on two important things firstly the length of the lever i.e how much potential power and possibility we believe we have and secondly the position of our fulcrum which is the mindset with which we generate the power to change sean cites quite a few studies that support the general view that our mindset changes the way that we experience the world but one of the most famous ones comes from 1979 and that was when researchers found a group of 75 year old men and told them to pretend as though it was 1959. everything was designed to make them think they were still 55 rather than 75.
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after only a week of doing this 20-year time travel experiment thing the researchers measured different physical and mental attributes of the men and they found huge improvements in things like appearance memory and even intelligence and essentially this study illustrates in a really cute way how if we change our mindset we can actually affect genuine change in ourselves and in the world around us but it's all well and good having a certain mindset but we also want to seize opportunities when they when they come along and that's what sean calls the tetris effect basically the tetris effect is the idea that our brains are constantly looking for patterns that we can fit to the world
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around us and what sean says in the book is that there are two sorts of people two different types of tetris mindsets firstly we've got the negative tetris effect which is what happens when our brains get stuck in patterns that hurt our chances of success and then we have the positive tetris effect which is what happens when our brains have been trained to look for opportunities that increase success and so the idea here is that if we're the sort of person who has a more positive tetris effect mindset depending on how the how the bricks fall we're gonna do what we can our brains have been trained to react to them in a more positive way whereas we'll probably know people who have more
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of a negative tetris effect in their life no matter how the circumstances no matter how the bricks fall they end up their brains end up finding negative patterns but the good news is that we can actually train ourselves into and out of these different mindsets so if you find yourself finding negative patterns in life it is possible by repetition and force of willpower and just practicing quite a lot to actually convert your brain to have a more positive a positive pattern seeking mindset rather than a negative one as sean says when we train our brains to adopt a positive tetris effect we're opening our minds to the ideas and
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opportunities that will help us be more productive effective and successful one very simple way to start developing the second mindset that looks for positive patterns is to write down three things that we're grateful for every day this forces us to engage with the part of our brain that consciously looks for the positives in our daily lives which will then have a ripple effect and actually there is some evidence which is quite interesting that just writing down a list of things that you're grateful for each day has more of an effect on your personal happiness than doubling your salary at work which i think is pretty mind-boggling there's another mindset shift that we can develop that helps us ultimately be happier healthier and more
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productive and that's how we respond to failure and sean calls this falling up essentially there are three different ways that we can respond to negative events three paths that we can take path one is where the negative event produces no change and we end up exactly where we started path two is that the event leads us towards further negative consequences and we end up worse than when we started and path three is when we're using adversity and failure as a means of becoming stronger and more capable than before the event and so the ideal way to respond to failures and setbacks is to try and respond to them by turning them into a learning
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opportunity and this is something that's been you know throughout the field of psychology there's a few other principles he talks about about how we can be happier but the one that i want to end with and probably the most important one is the value of social support unsurprisingly sean's research has shown that the most successful people invest in their social support networks and as a result are happier more productive engaged energetic and resilient and so while we might be thinking that you know i've got to put my head down and put in the grind and lock my door so that my university friends can't come in because i need to work for my exams that kind of mindset probably isn't the best way to actually
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achieve success because we know that having a strong social network is so important in fact research from harvard on over 24 000 american workers found that people with few social connections are two to three times more likely to suffer with depression and other studies have found that having a not very good social support network is just as bad for your life expectancy as things like smoking obesity high blood pressure and not exercising very much sean concludes by saying that our social support can prove the difference between succumbing to the cult of the average and achieving our fullest potential happiness is a subjective and emotional
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state but the evidence presented in the book demonstrates how important it is not only for our mental and physical well-being but also to our performance in our physical and professional lives and in the lives of those around us we need to start seeing happiness as a key ingredient that we can all develop rather than merely an outcome or an afterthought of success reserved for those high achievers as sean says in the book happiness is not the belief that we need to change it's the realization that we can thank
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you for watching after only a week of experiencing this sort of after only a week after only a week of experiencing this 20-year mind after only a week of experiencing this 20-year after only a week of we're going to do i'm going to do a separate video about all of the different i'm going to do a separate video about the different evidence ways i'm going to do another video on like all of the different i'm going to do
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another video on the ways i'm gonna do another video on the ways that research has i'm gonna do another video on the ways that research has shown that we can actually make ourselves more happy but some of the things he talks about in the book are happiness is a subjective but the evidence presented okay that's right happiness is a subjective and emotional

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