Turning convention beliefs upside down, the book shows how success does not lead to happiness, but happiness leads to success. In other words, the more positive our brains are, the more likely we are to succeed. As the author explains, the Happiness Advantage “asks us to be realistic about the present while maximizing our potential for the future. It is about learning to cultivate the mindset and behaviors that have been empirically proven to fuel greater success and fulfillment. It is a work ethic.” Think of this book as to how-to of positive psychology.
Shawn does an amazing job of distilling the research and findings of positive psychology that predict happiness and success into seven key principles:
1. The happiness advantage–the way we can retrain our brains to maximize positivity and provide our the biological advantage needed to optimize our productivity and performance.
2. The fulcrum and the lever–the way we can adjust our mindset (fulcrum) to be able to have the power (lever) to be more fulfilled and successful. You can’t change reality, but you can change how you process the world.
3. The tetris effect–the principle by which we retrain our brains to spot patterns of possibility and opportunity, instead of getting stuck in spotting patterns that focus on negativity. If one has a negative outlook on things that is a habit. A pattern that can be broken.
4. Falling up–how we can not only get ourselves up after failure or suffering, but also become happier and more successful in spite–and because–of the fall. When facing crisis, one has to find a path that leads us from failure to a place of strength.
5. The Zorro circle–the principle by which we can regain control when feeling overwhelmed by focusing on small and manageable goals, and gradually expanding the circle to achieve increasingly bigger ones.
6. The 20 second rule–how we can decrease the “activation energy” of forming new (and healthier) habits by rerouting the path of least resistance. We can form new habits if we make it easy to do the right thing and hard to do the wrong thing.
7. Social investment–the principle by which we can invest more in our social networks, which are one of the greatest predictors of happiness and success. Support of friends and family is important.
Shawn’s poignant quote of: “Happiness is not the belief that we don’t need to change; it is the realization that we can” nicely encapsulates the message of this book. Life is not about chasing the happy ending; it’s about unblocking our potential by cultivating happiness now. You can get your copy from here.