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Ted Talk, The Happy Secret to Better Work

“What does a Harvard student possibly have to be unhappy about?”

It is a privilege to study at Harvard. Most people would be thrilled to have the opportunity to study at one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Although students report achieving success and happiness when receiving their acceptance letter into Harvard, their levels of happiness diminishes drastically within the first two weeks of classes. As the workload piles up and the competition increases, students begin to focus on the stressors and complaints and hassles of being a student at Harvard. Although students may have reached a lifetime milestone of success, they face a rapid decline in levels of happiness.

 

Why does happiness dwindle at such a rapid rate? Can individuals achieve sustained levels of satisfaction and happiness? Shawn Anchor, renowned positive psychologist, seeks to explain the key to understanding the science of happiness. Amid anecdotes of his sister as a baby unicorn and his brother-in-law’s unfortunate bout of leprosy, Anchor seeks to dispel the broken and backward formula for achieving success to obtain happiness.

 

The modern-day mantra is: “If I work harder, I will become more successful. When I’m more successful, I will become happier.” The key assumption is that our external world is predictive of our happiness. However, there is an inherent problem with the phrase “achieving success” because “everytime your brain has a success, you just change the goal post of what success looks like.” When you get good grades, you aim to obtain even better grades. When you get a good job, you are already on the prowl for an even better job. With this formula in mind, we will never achieve success. Consequently, we will remain unsatisfied and fail to achieve happiness.

 

Rather than aiming for success in an attempt to obtain happiness, Anchor suggests a formula reversal. Anchor posits that if he knows everything about your external world, he can only predict 10% of your long-term happiness. However, 90% of your happiness is predicted by the way your brain processes the world. Similarly, 75% of your job success is predicted by qualities of a positive attitude: optimism, social level support, and ability to see stress as a challenge, rather than a threat. Therefore, we must start by raising our level of positivity in the present, providing our brain with a “happiness advantage.” When our brain is positive, it performs better and is 31% more productive than at a neutral or negative state. Sales people become 37% better at sales. Doctors become 19% faster and more accurate at diagnosing their patients. If we can find a way of becoming positive in the present, our brains are able to work harder, faster, and more intelligently. By working to achieve happiness and positivity, our efforts will be rewarded through measures of life satisfaction and success.

 

Shawn posits five simple ways to train our brain to think positively, optimistically, and work successfully:

 

  • Write 3 new things you are grateful for every day
  • Journal about one positive experience
  • Exercise
  • Meditate
  • Engage in random acts of kindness

 

Through each of these five simple actions, you are training your brain to engage with the world in a more optimistic manner. You are engaging in an active reflection of the positive elements of the world, beginning to scan the world for positive things. Shawn Anchor concludes that when we reverse the formula for happiness and success, we are “not only creating ripples of positivity, but creating a real revolution.”

 

The Bay Area is filled with determined, strong-willed, and ambitious individuals striving to seek success in a booming technology industry. However, it is important for residents of the San Francisco Bay Area to be mindful of the implications of success. Shawn Anchor seeks to encourage employees to alter the way their brain perceives the world around them. This perception of positivity, rather than negativity, will create ripples of effects, enhancing individuals’ work ability, creativity, cognition, and most importantly, happiness and satisfaction. With a more optimistic and positive mind, the brain’s efficiency will result in the productivity we crave in a world full of challenges and obstacles. In sum, increasing one’s happiness has direct effects on one’s work life, cognitive ability, and productivity.

 

“What does a Harvard student possibly have to be unhappy about?”

 

It is a privilege to study at Harvard. Most people would be thrilled to have the opportunity to study at one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Although students report achieving success and happiness when receiving their acceptance letter into Harvard, their levels of happiness diminishes drastically within the first two weeks of classes. As the workload piles up and the competition increases, students begin to focus on the stressors and complaints and hassles of being a student at Harvard. Although students may have reached a lifetime milestone of success, they face a rapid decline in levels of happiness.

 

Why does happiness dwindle at such a rapid rate? Can individuals achieve sustained levels of satisfaction and happiness? Shawn Anchor, renowned positive psychologist, seeks to explain the key to understanding the science of happiness. Amid anecdotes of his sister as a baby unicorn and his brother-in-law’s unfortunate bout of leprosy, Anchor seeks to dispel the broken and backward formula for achieving success to obtain happiness.

 

The modern-day mantra is: “If I work harder, I will become more successful. When I’m more successful, I will become happier.” The key assumption is that our external world is predictive of our happiness. However, there is an inherent problem with the phrase “achieving success” because “everytime your brain has a success, you just change the goal post of what success looks like.” When you get good grades, you aim to obtain even better grades. When you get a good job, you are already on the prowl for an even better job. With this formula in mind, we will never achieve success. Consequently, we will remain unsatisfied and fail to achieve happiness.

 

Rather than aiming for success in an attempt to obtain happiness, Anchor suggests a formula reversal. Anchor posits that if he knows everything about your external world, he can only predict 10% of your long-term happiness. However, 90% of your happiness is predicted by the way your brain processes the world. Similarly, 75% of your job success is predicted by qualities of a positive attitude: optimism, social level support, and ability to see stress as a challenge, rather than a threat. Therefore, we must start by raising our level of positivity in the present, providing our brain with a “happiness advantage.” When our brain is positive, it performs better and is 31% more productive than at a neutral or negative state. Sales people become 37% better at sales. Doctors become 19% faster and more accurate at diagnosing their patients. If we can find a way of becoming positive in the present, our brains are able to work harder, faster, and more intelligently. By working to achieve happiness and positivity, our efforts will be rewarded through measures of life satisfaction and success.

 

Shawn posits five simple ways to train our brain to think positively, optimistically, and work successfully:

 

  • Write 3 new things you are grateful for every day
  • Journal about one positive experience
  • Exercise
  • Meditate
  • Engage in random acts of kindness

 

Through each of these five simple actions, you are training your brain to engage with the world in a more optimistic manner. You are engaging in an active reflection of the positive elements of the world, beginning to scan the world for positive things. Shawn Anchor concludes that when we reverse the formula for happiness and success, we are “not only creating ripples of positivity, but creating a real revolution.”

 

The Bay Area is filled with determined, strong-willed, and ambitious individuals striving to seek success in a booming technology industry. However, it is important for residents of the San Francisco Bay Area to be mindful of the implications of success. Shawn Anchor seeks to encourage employees to alter the way their brain perceives the world around them. This perception of positivity, rather than negativity, will create ripples of effects, enhancing individuals’ work ability, creativity, cognition, and most importantly, happiness and satisfaction. With a more optimistic and positive mind, the brain’s efficiency will result in the productivity we crave in a world full of challenges and obstacles. In sum, increasing one’s happiness has direct effects on one’s work life, cognitive ability, and productivity.

 

 

“What does a Harvard student possibly have to be unhappy about?”

It is a privilege to study at Harvard. Most people would be thrilled to have the opportunity to study at one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Although students report achieving success and happiness when receiving their acceptance letter into Harvard, their levels of happiness diminishes drastically within the first two weeks of classes. As the workload piles up and the competition increases, students begin to focus on the stressors and complaints and hassles of being a student at Harvard. Although students may have reached a lifetime milestone of success, they face a rapid decline in levels of happiness.

Why does happiness dwindle at such a rapid rate? Can individuals achieve sustained levels of satisfaction and happiness? Shawn Anchor, renowned positive psychologist, seeks to explain the key to understanding the science of happiness. Amid anecdotes of his sister as a baby unicorn and his brother-in-law’s unfortunate bout of leprosy, Anchor seeks to dispel the broken and backward formula for achieving success to obtain happiness.

The modern-day mantra is: “If I work harder, I will become more successful. When I’m more successful, I will become happier.” The key assumption is that our external world is predictive of our happiness. However, there is an inherent problem with the phrase “achieving success” because “everytime your brain has a success, you just change the goal post of what success looks like.” When you get good grades, you aim to obtain even better grades. When you get a good job, you are already on the prowl for an even better job. With this formula in mind, we will never achieve success. Consequently, we will remain unsatisfied and fail to achieve happiness.

Rather than aiming for success in an attempt to obtain happiness, Anchor suggests a formula reversal. Anchor posits that if he knows everything about your external world, he can only predict 10% of your long-term happiness. However, 90% of your happiness is predicted by the way your brain processes the world. Similarly, 75% of your job success is predicted by qualities of a positive attitude: optimism, social level support, and ability to see stress as a challenge, rather than a threat. Therefore, we must start by raising our level of positivity in the present, providing our brain with a “happiness advantage.” When our brain is positive, it performs better and is 31% more productive than at a neutral or negative state. Sales people become 37% better at sales. Doctors become 19% faster and more accurate at diagnosing their patients. If we can find a way of becoming positive in the present, our brains are able to work harder, faster, and more intelligently. By working to achieve happiness and positivity, our efforts will be rewarded through measures of life satisfaction and success.

Shawn posits five simple ways to train our brain to think positively, optimistically, and work successfully:

1) Write 3 new things you are grateful for every day
2) Journal about one positive experience
3) Exercise
4) Meditate
5) Engage in random acts of kindness

Through each of these five simple actions, you are training your brain to engage with the world in a more optimistic manner. You are engaging in an active reflection of the positive elements of the world, beginning to scan the world for positive things. Shawn Anchor concludes that when we reverse the formula for happiness and success, we are “not only creating ripples of positivity, but creating a real revolution.”

The Bay Area is filled with determined, strong-willed, and ambitious individuals striving to seek success in a booming technology industry. However, it is important for residents of the San Francisco Bay Area to be mindful of the implications of success. Shawn Anchor seeks to encourage employees to alter the way their brain perceives the world around them. This perception of positivity, rather than negativity, will create ripples of effects, enhancing individuals’ work ability, creativity, cognition, and most importantly, happiness and satisfaction. With a more optimistic and positive mind, the brain’s efficiency will result in the productivity we crave in a world full of challenges and obstacles. In sum, increasing one’s happiness has direct effects on one’s work life, cognitive ability, and productivity.

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