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"90 percent of your long-term happiness is predicted not by the external world, but by the way your brain processes the world. And if we change it, if we change our formula for happiness and success, we can change the way that we can then affect reality."

January 13, 2016

 

Shawn Achor is the winner of over a dozen distinguished teaching awards at Harvard University, where he delivered lectures on positive psychology in the most popular class at Harvard.  He talks way too fast, he's funny, but what he is saying is thought provoking, challenging and engaging.   Can we actually take steps to make ourselves happier.

 

"Most companies and schools follow a formula for success, which is this: If I work harder, I'll be more successful. And if I'm more successful, then I'll be happier. That underpins most of our parenting and managing styles, the way that we motivate our behaviour....  

 

the problem is it's scientifically broken and backwards for two reasons. Every time your brain has a success, you just changed the goalpost of what success looked like. You got good grades, now you have to get better grades, you got into a good school and after you get into a better one, you got a good job, now you have to get a better job, you hit your sales target, we're going to change it. And if happiness is on the opposite side of success, your brain never gets there. 

 

We've pushed happiness over the cognitive horizon, as a society. And that's because we think we have to be successful, then we'll be happier.  But our brains work in the opposite order. If you can raise somebody's level of positivity in the present,then their brain experiences what we now call a happiness advantage, which is your brain at positive performs significantly better than at negative, neutral or stressed."

 

 

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