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Image: Four workers high fiving over an office table

Secrets to the “Happiness Advantage” at Work

There is a recipe for job satisfaction that can transform your future by inspiring a whole new perspective about work. 

The speaker, Shawn Achor, has worked everywhere from Camp David and Harvard to shantytowns in Zimbabwe and children’s cancer wards in Boston. He’s brought this leap of perspective to 50 countries, nearly half the Fortune 100 companies, and the video has had over 24 million views. 

An actual “happiness advantage” (something we could all use these days) comes down to a mindset you can automatically control. The insight in today’s short video made us laugh joyously, and can make your working life feel additive and alive. If work/life balance is your goal, you will love this fresh, fun way of looking at things. 

Image: A group of four people high fiving at work, since they've unlocked the happiness advantage.
Source: pxhere

Take a look at Shawn Achor’s TED Talk, “The Happy Secret to Better Work”, and you’ll know why the happiness advantage is so important.

Fasten your seat belts and turn off every distraction. Shawn talks very, very fast and almost every sentence is a gem.

Via: TED 1

If you want to watch more incredible talks on insights ranging from personal development to scientific breakthroughs go check out the TED website!

Changing Your Lens on the World

As Mr. Achor notes, studies have shown that the trouble and suffering in our external worlds only influence our happiness by 10%. How can that be? 

Many of us can attest to the fact that the drama and negativity in the news and social media is moving us near (or over) the threshold that we can tolerate when it comes to doom and gloom.

But the point not to be missed in this talk is at 5:15…

“When I turn on the news, it seems like the vast majority of newsworthy things involve murder, corruption, diseases, natural disasters. And our brains very quickly decide that this is the accurate ratio of negative to positive in the world. But scientists are finding that it is not reality that shapes us… but the lens through which your brain views the world, shapes your reality. So if we can change the lens, then we can change your happiness and every single educational and business outcome, at the same time.”

Shawn Achor

What’s your current lens on the world? 

Is it breaking news? Do you leave a particular negative media outlet streaming all day? Perhaps you are following an influencer who makes a living by ratcheting up the drama? Or are you circles on Social Media so active in outrage that you barely hear or see kindness or grace coming from people?

These are the hard questions to ask ourselves, but the answers are actually pretty easy. If you get a sheepish “yes” in those conversations with yourself, no worries. It’s a private conversation that you totally control.

And then,look forward to discovering what your brain is truly capable of!

Bottom-line: When we stop connecting our happiness with our goals, successes and hopes, science tells us that we would experience:

  • Being 30% more productivity than in a state of negative, neutral or stressed
  • Being 19% better at coming up with solutions (diagnosis) 
  • more creativity
  • more growth in our intelligence
  • 37% better sales successes

And then we are back to one of Shawn’s key insights. It turns out that we can control 90% of our long-term happiness

If you still have questions, dive back into the talk and revisit Shawns insight at 9:03. There, he lays out exactly how we change our formula for happiness and success. 

And how do we make that leap, shifting to deliberate happiness before we are successful? The science of happiness shows that the It only takes 21 consecutive days to rewire our brains. And stay tuned. the Goodness Exchange is soon to launch a 21-day routine for happiness!

Want a few immediate tips for taking control of your mindset? 

Sometimes the chaos seems all too much. And I’d like you to have a few “go to” strategies to meet the negative news or a life complexity today.

For that, I have two phenomenally useful perspectives I lean on all the time:

  1. When I’m feeling low about something (really low), I’ve trained myself to mutter, “no feeling lasts forever”, and then I get busy. Time passes, new things come my way: people, ideas, welcome texts or emails, and after a time, everything seems different. No feeling does last forever. 

And on those occasions that the negative feeling starts to engulf me again, I repeat the pattern: “no feeling lasts forever”, and then I get busy again. Eventually, if I repeat that pattern, I find that’s true! Circumstances change and I feel completely different and carry on more contentedly.

  1. When I get in the thick of a conflict or drama, I constantly and resolutely ask myself, “Where is the opportunity in this situation?” Almost every disappointing situation has a window of opportunity if we will lift our heads up and take a look from a different perspective. 

This is difficult at first because we are so good at telling ourselves negative stories. But you can grow this habit if you remind yourself to “become the observer”. You are already scanning your environment (without knowing it) for things that can help you survive and thrive, now take notice of the missed opportunity and the positive, first. (Most of us do the opposite.) 

Experience tells me: you will see what you search for. Search for signs of goodness, untapped potential, and progress in the chaos.

More for your Happiness Advantage

Shawn is also a NY Times bestselling author of The Happiness Advantage and Big Potential. 

The book remains on my desk within arm’s reach every day with a tiny group of other wonderful reads, so I can crack it open randomly and pull a bit of inspiration into my day. Enjoy!

Make it a great day! Stay open, curious and hopeful.

~ Dr. Lynda

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  1. Achor, Shawn. “The Happy Secret to Better Work.” Ted.com, TED Talks, 2012, www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work?language=en. Accessed 1 Aug. 2022.
Image: Dr. Lynda

Lynda Ulrich


Dr. Lynda is a dentist, artist, global traveler, and philanthropist who looks for potential and shares it with the world.

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