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The Happy Secret

We’ve been following a formula all our lives: If you work hard, then you will be successful, and if you are successful you’ll be happy. Well, our common formula is broken. It might not be broken, but is backwards.


This is what Shawn Achor discovered after many studies with Harvard students. There are 7 specific, actionable and proven principles that predict success and achievement:

The happiness advantage, because a positive brain has biological advantage over brains that are neutral or negative. There are people that are naturally happy, but for the rest consider happiness not as a mood but as a work ethic.

Fulcrum and the Lever, How we experience the world and our ability to succeed within it, constantly changes based on our mindset.

The Tetris effect- someone who is unable to break a pattern of thinking or behaving. Often this pattern can be negative. The friend that only complains, the boss that only sees mistakes and the colleague who predicts doom before meeting. This is no small thing. Constantly scanning the world in a negative way, undercuts our creativity, raises our stress levels and lowers our motivation.

Falling up, We all experience adversity of one kind or another at some point in our lives. Mistakes. Failure. Obstacles. Disappointment. But in order to be successful, we have to see adversity as a stepping-stone to greatness. Walt Disney was fired for his lack of creativity, Michel Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team and “The Beatles” was turn down by a record executive.

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly” Robert F. Kennedy

The Zorro circle, One of the biggest drivers of success is the belief that our behavior matters; that we have control over our future.  When our workloads seem to mount faster than our ability to keep up, the feeling of control leaves us.  This is when this principle takes place; we have to regain the feeling of control by concentrating our efforts on small manageable goals. 

The 20-second rule, are those 20 seconds of INSANE courage to get things done.

Social Investment, In the midst of challenges and stress, some people choose to hunker down and retreat within themselves. But most successful people invest in their friends and family members to propel themselves forward.

“When you capitalize on the Happiness Advantage, you are doing far more than improving your own well-being and performance; the more you profit from the principles, the more everyone around you profits” (Achor)