“The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor

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Shawn never really left Harvard. He started off as a student, worked as a student counsellor and is now a researcher. His “happiness” course was one of the most popular on campus. Shawn is now a teacher and a consultant. Check this out:

Here’s the story: “In 2004, for instance, as many as 4 in 5 Harvard students suffer from depression at least once during the school year, and nearly half of all students suffer from depression so debilitating they can’t function”*.  High expectations and aspirations are very stressful, in higher education and in work place.

Also, back in 1998, “there was a 17-to-1 negative-to-positive ratio of research in the field of psychology.” His book is really amazing, it reconstructs the way we traditionally approach success and happiness by using 7 principles, I won’t list them all (you can buy the book here) and watch the video below.

Working to be happy won’t cut it: you go to a good school, then you need a better school, you have a good job, you need a better job. You’ll never get “there”, it’s beyond the cognitive horizon. Raising positivity in the present time, you’ll perform better now, energy and happiness: your brain with positive attitude is 31% more productive than brain with negative of neutral stress. You’re 37% better at Sales!


Our education system (especially in France) has us hard wired for the wrong things:

– Communication: We are taught to write long and tiresome dissertations. Yet, in real life we mostly communicate through short and actionable emails.
– Career planning: Work long and hard, get as many diplomas as possible, “pay your dues” by starting your career working extra-hours. Yet, it’s a matter of attitude not extra-hours, work smart and be open minded, then trust ripple effects.

We all make conscious choices about our situations. Stop delaying happiness and start positive cycles helps you scanning the world for the positive and not negative, the rest will sort itself out.


*: Harvard Crimson poll, 2004. “College faces mental health crisis”, by Kaplan, K. A.


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