Happiness is a choice, and a secret of success in life, says Shawn Achor on CNN. Shawn is the author of the Happiness Advantage.
Scientifically, can happiness be an advantage?
Some people think if you are happy, you are blind to reality. But when we research it, happiness actually raises every single business and educational outcome for the brain. How did we miss this? Why do we have these societal misconceptions about happiness? Because we assumed you were average.
When we study people, scientists are often interested in what the average is. If we study what is merely average, we will remain merely average.
Many people think happiness is genetic. That’s only half the story, because the average person does not fight their genes. When we stop studying the average and begin researching positive outliers — people who are above average for a positive dimension like optimism or intelligence — a wildly different picture emerges. Our daily decisions and habits have a huge impact upon both our levels of happiness and success.
Scientifically, happiness is a choice. It is a choice about where your single processor brain will devote its finite resources as you process the world. If you scan for the negative first, your brain literally has no resources left over to see the things you are grateful for or the meaning embedded in your work. But if you scan the world for the positive, you start to reap an amazing advantage.
Now that there is research validity to these claims, the working world is starting to take notice. In January, I wrote the cover story for the Harvard Business Review magazine on “Happiness Leads to Profits.” Based on my article called “Positive Intelligence” and my research in The Happiness Advantage, I outlined our researched conclusion: the single greatest advantage in the modern economy is a happy and engaged workforce.
A decade of research in the business world proves that happiness raises nearly every business and educational outcome: raising sales by 37%, productivity by 31%, and accuracy on tasks by 19%, as well as a myriad of health and quality-of-life improvements.
The full conversation is available on: http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/19/opinion/happiness-success-achor/?hpt=hp_bn6