What if society made a horrendous mistake?

What if success doesn’t breed happiness but instead, happiness breeds success? Shawn Achor, the author of the “Happiness Advantage,” states that Positive Psychology, Neurology, 200 studies, and 275,000 participants demonstrate that positive outlooks produce more accuracy, creativity, and productivity. A positive mindset is the result of tangible practices that affect the way people view and react to the environment. For entrepreneurs, distinction and efficiency are so critical, happiness isn’t just a desirable state of mind; it’s a competitive advantage.

“We become more successful when we are happier and more positive. For example, doctors put in a positive mood before making a diagnosis show almost three times more intelligence and creativity than doctors in a neutral state, and they make accurate diagnoses 19% faster. Optimistic salespeople outsell their pessimistic counterparts by 56%. Students primed to feel happy before taking math achievement tests far outperform their neutral peers.” – Achor

The science behind these statements asserts that dopamine and serotonin, two chemicals brains produce during positive states, foster creativity, openness, and deep thought. Conversely, when we’re stressed or neutral, other hormones, like adrenaline, narrow our focus. Consider the last time you were seriously frightened. Perhaps you felt threatened while withdrawing cash from an ATM or when seeing your child in danger. In that instant, your brain ignored all options but two: fight or flight. The instinct caused your brain to disregard a hundred other ideas. If stress narrows focus, isn’t it equally reasonable to assume that happiness accomplishes the opposite? That it enables us to examine options we would not consider under other circumstances!

For far too many people, happiness is a temporary and fleeting state because it follows accomplishments. We continually reset our expectations with every success. If you lose 10 pounds, you should lose 20. When you graduate you must find the ideal job. When you get the job,  you seek a promotion. Success is always out of reach and happiness is just over the horizon.  Instead, Achor hopes to reverse this and identifies specific practices that alter the way his readers see the world. 

Why is it recommended?

The barrier between happiness and stress allows one group to spot a creative opportunity and the other to miss it. It divides those who execute a new business concept from those who dismiss it as impractical. It enables some of us to love what we do and the rest of us to view work as a necessary evil. The book is a guide to improve your outlook through the regular practice of seven principles. The “Happiness Advantage” isn’t a business book in the conventional sense. It won’t teach you how to stave off competitors, hire great people or identify financing. But because it improves creativity, efficiency, and productivity, it indirectly improves your business by directly improving you.