This Is How Happiness Inspires Productivity


Harvard psychologist, Shawn Achor, gives one of the most popular TED talks ever. The Happy Secret to Better Work is an inspiring, thought provoking, fast-paced and entertaining talk in which Achor argues that you don’t get happy by achieving success, you achieve success by getting happy. Many of you may be familiar with this talk, but for those who aren’t, we highly recommend you take the next 12 minutes to listen to what this man has to say.

In his speech, Achor argues that the absence of disease is not health. He explains:

“Here’s how we get to health: We need to reverse the formula for happiness and success. Most companies and schools follow a formula for success, which is this: If I work harder, I’ll be more successful. And if I’m more successful, then I’ll be happier. That undergirds most of our parenting and managing styles, the way that we motivate our behavior.

“And the problem is it’s scientifically broken and backwards for two reasons. Every time your brain has a success, you just changed the goalpost of what success looked like. You got good grades, now you have to get better grades, you got into a good school and after you get into a better one, you got a good job, now you have to get a better job, you hit your sales target, we’re going to change it. And if happiness is on the opposite side of success, your brain never gets there.”

Robinson argues that, as a society, we’ve pushed happiness over the cognitive horizon. We have done this because we think we have to be successful, and then we’ll be happier. But our brains work in the opposite order. He points out:

“If you can raise somebody’s level of positivity in the present, then their brain experiences what we now call a happiness advantage, which is your brain at positive performs significantly better than at negative, neutral or stressed. Your intelligence rises, your creativity rises, your energy levels rise. In fact, we’ve found that every single business outcome improves. Your brain at positive is 31% more productive than your brain at negative, neutral or stressed. You’re 37% better at sales. Doctors are 19% faster and are more accurate at coming up with the correct diagnosis when positive instead of negative, neutral or stressed.”

In short, we can reverse the formula. There are ways that you can train your brain to become more positive. In just a two-minute span of time, done for 21 days in a row, you can actually rewire your brain, allowing your brain to actually work more optimistically and more successfully.

And how can you train your brain to reverse the formula for happiness and success to create ripples of positivity and a real revolution? By doing these simple things:

“Journaling about one positive experience you’ve had over the past 24 hours allows your brain to relive it. Exercise teaches your brain that your behavior matters. We find that meditation allows your brain to get over the cultural ADHD that we’ve been creating by trying to do multiple tasks at once and allows our brains to focus on the task at hand. And finally, random acts of kindness are conscious acts of kindness. We get people, when they open up their inbox, to write one positive email praising or thanking somebody in their support network.”

Please watch, comment and share if you agree that you can train your brain to be more positive, to think more optimistically and work more successfully…

This Article (This Is How Happiness Inspires Productivity) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and


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