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Shawn Achor

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“The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period,” says Dr. Robert Waldinger, director of the longest and most comprehensive study on human happiness. Period. Hard stop. Robert tells us: “It’s not the number of friends you have; it’s the quality of your close relationships that matters.” This week we are going to be explore the power of relationships and how to create moments…

That’s one of the more surprising facts Shawn Achor shares in his terrific book on positive psychology, The Happiness Advantage. Knowing the right thing and doing the right thing are… two different things. Aristotle tells us: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” So, how do we create good habits? One strategy involves what Shawn refers to as “activation energy.” The key is to lower the amount of…

“You don’t understand, I want to run a marathon in a month…” said one of Shawn Achor’s clients.   This week we are looking at some of the key lessons to be learned from Shawn’s book The Happiness Advantage. We’ve probably walked (or in this case, run) in those shoes. We decide on a big goal and we want to achieve it now.  Right now.  How’s that working out for us? An all-or-nothing mindset often leads to failure. Instead,…

During the construction of St. Paul’s cathedral in London, British architect Sir Christopher Wren asked three men what they were doing. The first replied, “I am cutting a piece of stone.” The second said: “I am earning five shillings two pence a day.” The third man answered, “I am building a beautiful cathedral.” They were doing the exact same thing. But, one man had a job. The second, a career. The third man had a calling. This week…

Turns out the answer to this question is a tremendous predictor of overall success. Why? This week we’ve been looking at some of the key lessons of Shawn Achor’s terrific book The Happiness Advantage which summarizes many of the tenants of positive psychology. People who think of themselves as lucky: * Set more (and more difficult) goals * Put more effort into achieving those goals * Stay more engaged when faced with difficulty * Rise…

I love this story… It’s the early 1900’s and two shoe salesmen are sent to an undeveloped country to assess the opportunity. One sends a telegraph back home: “Situation hopeless. They don’t wear shoes.” The other wires: “Glorious Opportunity. They don’t wear shoes!” In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor labels these patterns of thinking “The Tetris Effect” after the 1980s video game. The research shows (yes, someone studied this…), that if we play Tetris for multiple hours a day, we…

The answer is neither, according to the research of Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert. In his popular TED talk, Dan tells us that if it happened over three months ago,  major life traumas have little impact on our happiness. In fact, his research shows external circumstances predict only 10% of our overall happiness. This week we’ve been looking at some of the lessons from Shawn Achor’s book The Happiness Advantage. One key takeaway: we are much more resilient…

In his book The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor shares the research of Daniel Khaneman that shows us we don’t always act in rational, logical ways.   When threatened, we are hard-wired to “fight or flight,” also known as “emotional high-jacking.” This instinct serves us well when our house is on fire and we need to make a quick escape. But not so much when our spouse makes a comment and we “fly off the handle” and give…

What’s more important? What we do each day? Or, how we think about what we do each day? The research is clear. How we think about our daily activities, much more so than the activities themselves, defines our reality. In the Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor shares a 1979 study conducted by Ellen Langer in which a group of 75-year old men spent one week at a retreat center living as if it were 1959. They…

This week we are going to be looking at some of the insights from The Happiness Advantage written by Shawn Achor. Each year at PCI we have at least one book club where we read and discuss a relevant business or self-development book. The Happiness Advantage was our 2020 selection. These reading/discussion groups have been a key element of our workplace culture at PCI dating back to 1997. The very first book we read and discussed…