Put Happiness before Success

Darren Hardy mentioned, on a Facebook post, a new book by Shawn Achor that explains that happiness should come before not after success. Doing the personal work to become a person more open to happiness can drive successful results that should lead to an upward happiness spiral.

Here is a quote from the Amazon product book review:

Our most commonly held formula for success is broken.

Conventional wisdom holds that if we work hard we will be more successful, and if we are more successful, then we’ll be happy. If we can just find that great job, win that next promotion, lose those five pounds, happiness will follow. But recent discoveries in the field of positive psychology have shown that this formula is actually backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around. When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive at work. This isn’t just an empty mantra. This discovery has been repeatedly borne out by rigorous research in psychology and neuroscience, management studies, and the bottom lines of organizations around the globe.

In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor, who spent over a decade living, researching, and lecturing at Harvard University, draws on his own research—including one of the largest studies of happiness and potential at Harvard and others at companies like UBS and KPMG—to fix this broken formula. Using stories and case studies from his work with thousands of Fortune 500 executives in 42 countries, Achor explains how we can reprogram our brains to become more positive in order to gain a competitive edge at work.

Isolating seven practical, actionable principles that have been tried and tested everywhere from classrooms to boardrooms, stretching from Argentina to Zimbabwe, he shows us how we can capitalize on the Happiness Advantage to improve our performance and maximize our potential. Among the principles he outlines:

• The Tetris Effect: how to retrain our brains to spot patterns of possibility, so we can see—and seize—opportunities wherever we look.
• The Zorro Circle: how to channel our efforts on small, manageable goals, to gain the leverage to gradually conquer bigger and bigger ones.
• Social Investment: how to reap the dividends of investing in one of the greatest predictors of success and happiness—our social support network

A must-read for everyone trying to excel in a world of increasing workloads, stress, and negativity, The Happiness Advantage isn’t only about how to become happier at work. It’s about how to reap the benefits of a happier and more positive mind-set to achieve the extraordinary in our work and in our lives.

This sounds a bit reminiscent of some quotes from Jim Rohn,

“Work harder on yourself than you do on your job.”
“Only in the dictionary does Success come before Work.”

In other words, put in the work to be a better (happier) person and this is a good start towards driving forward further work to achieve more successful results. Starting with personal areas where you have more control and expanding your circle of influence gradually outward could be an example of the Zorro Circle principle.

Personally this makes more sense to me than “The Secret” which postulates that good results are attracted merely by thinking positively. Thinking optimistically and critically is better than just focussing on positive thoughts that could lose touch with reality. To me, optimistic and critical thinking is a starting point that helps to build up the motivation to do more and take action to work a plan and achieve the results of your dreams.

It will be interesting to read The Happiness Advantage to see how it fits in with related books such as the following:

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