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Happiness as a Recipe for Success: A Guide to the 7 Key Principles of Positive Psychology

Aktualisiert: 23. Aug. 2023

Have you ever wondered how you can boost your performance at work or school while simultaneously increasing your personal happiness? Well, you're in the right place. Let's dive into the captivating world of Shawn Achor and his book "The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Fuel Success and Performance at Work." This isn't just another self-help book; it's a guide for those who want to succeed in both their professional and everyday lives.

1. The Happiness Advantage Principle

Forget everything you've heard about success and happiness. Most of us think that once we succeed, we'll be happy. That's a myth. Shawn Achor flips this theory: It's not success that leads to happiness, but happiness that leads to success. When you're happy, your brain is more energized, resilient, productive, and creative.

So start seeing happiness as an advantage in your life. This doesn't mean you always have to be cheerful. It simply means maintaining a positive outlook, even when it's challenging.

Step 1: Begin each day with a positive thought. It could be an inspiring quote, a beautiful experience from the previous day, or a moment of gratitude.

Step 2: Take 5 minutes daily to reflect on things that make you happy. Write them down if it helps!

Step 3: Surround yourself with positive people who support and reinforce your mindset.

2. The Tetris Effect

You know the game Tetris, right? Players try to align falling blocks until they fit perfectly. But what does this have to do with happiness or work? Achor uses the game as a metaphor. If we always focus on negatives, we'll see problems everywhere, much like a Tetris player who only sees gaps.

Instead, we should strive to spot positive patterns and opportunities around us. To harness the Tetris Effect, practice seeing the good in your everyday life. Simple practices, like daily gratitude exercises or jotting down positive experiences, can help.

Step 1: Write down 3 positive things every evening that happened that day.

Step 2: Shift your focus consciously when fixated on negatives. Ask yourself, "What can I learn from this situation?"

Step 3: Celebrate your successes, no matter how small.

3. Avoiding the Fall

We all face setbacks and failures. What distinguishes successful people from the rest? Their attitude towards failure! It's about how quickly you recover and get back up after a setback.

Imagine you're like a balloon. Every setback lets out some air. Your task is to keep inflating that balloon with positive energy and a resilient attitude.

Step 1: Recognize and accept setbacks as a part of life.

Step 2: Analyze failures to learn from them rather than beating yourself up.

Step 3: Develop routines or rituals that help you get back up after setbacks.

4. The Zorro Circle Principle

Remember Zorro, the masked hero? Before he fought foes with his skilled sword, he trained within a small circle. This circle symbolizes the areas we can control.

When overwhelmed, start by focusing on smaller, controllable tasks. Once mastered, expand your circle step by step. This approach not only boosts your confidence but also your capability to tackle larger challenges.

Step 1: Set small, achievable goals that align with your bigger aspirations.

Step 2: Celebrate every little victory on the path to your larger goal.

Step 3: Consistently stretch your comfort zone by facing new challenges.

5. The 20-Second Rule

Want to change a habit? Make it as easy as possible. Shawn Achor suggests lowering barriers for positive habits and raising them for negative ones. For instance, if a bad habit takes just 20 seconds longer, you'll likely reconsider.

Imagine wanting to read more and watch less TV. Place your book right beside your bed and the remote on the other side of the room. The extra 20 seconds it takes to get the remote might be enough to inspire you to read.

Step 1: Identify a habit you want to change.

Step 2: Make adopting the new habit easier while making the old one harder.

Step 3: Regularly remind yourself of your "why" and how this minor change will positively impact your life.

6. The Social Investment Principle

Your relationships are your safety net, during both good and challenging times. In stressful periods, we might avoid contact with others. However, that's the wrong approach.

Rather than isolating, invest in your relationships. Spend time with friends and family, network, or simply help a colleague. Building strong social ties increases your resilience to stress and boosts overall well-being.

Step 1: Schedule regular meet-ups or calls with friends and family.

Step 2: Engage in groups or communities that share your interests or values.

Step 3: Offer help to others without expecting anything in return.

7. The Fun Factor

Last but not least: Have fun! That's precisely what Shawn Achor advises. Enjoying what you do not only enhances productivity but also happiness. Seek ways to infuse joy and play into your workday or daily routines.

You might think, "This all sounds too good to be true." But that's the book's message. Often, it's small shifts in our mindset and perspective that yield significant results. Give it a try and see how these principles can transform your life.

Step 1: Find activities that bring you joy and incorporate them into your daily routine.

Step 2: Take breaks to laugh, dance, or simply relax.

Step 3: Remind yourself that fun and work aren't opposites. Try to bring enjoyment to your daily tasks.


"The Happiness Advantage" provides not just theoretical insights but also actionable strategies you can implement right away. So, what are you waiting for? Take control of your happiness, elevate your performance, and savor the benefits of happiness in your life. The book reveals that happiness isn't merely the result of success, but often its precursor. Harness this understanding and build your own joyful and prosperous life.

Are you ready to write your own success story? Get a copy of my book now:

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