The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

We want to model Nadine West after Zappos.

  1. Happy employees = Happy customers.
  2. Happy customers = Happy company.

Which means, we need to study the science and psychology of happiness.

Below are my notes from Shawn Achor’s book The Happiness Advantage.

  • The science says that we become more successful when we are happier and more positive.  Not the other way around.
  • Happiness and positive emotions flood our brains with dopamine and serotonin, which enables the brain to learn better and operate more creatively.
  • Regular meditation increases happiness by rewiring the brain.
  • Committing conscious acts of kindness increases happiness.
  • Your physical environment (air, light, TV, pictures) at home and work affects your happiness.
  • Exercise releases endorphins, reduces stress, decreases depression, and increases happiness.
  • Spending money on experiences and on other people (not on stuff) increases happiness.
  • Recognition and praise can be more motivating to employees than money.
  • According to researcher Losada, 2.9013 is the break-even ratio between positive interactions and negative interactions at work.  Always stay above this, ideally around 6:1 positive to negative.
  • A positive, optimistic attitude is the most powerful predictor of job performance.
  • A calling >> a career >> a job.
  • Train your brain to be happy by practicing gratitude, such as a gratitude journal.
  • Train your brain for resiliency by reframing setbacks as learning opportunities.
  • To guard against irrational, emotional thinking, separate your stresses into 1) have control over and 2) do NOT have control over.
  • Success happens one day at a time.  (aka Kaizen)
  • Thoughts => action => habits => character => destiny.
  • Willpower is a limited resource.
  • Therefore, engineer the adoption of a habit so you don’t have to rely on willpower. For example, sleep in your gym clothes to work out first thing in the morning.
  • Social relationships are the single biggest driver of happiness.
  • The manager/employee relationship is the strongest predictor of employee productivity and retention.
  • Positive emotions are contagious.  So be a good leader and share your happiness with the world.

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