In ‘Before Happiness’, Shawn Achor, the Harvard researcher and bestselling author, gives practical guidelines for becoming happier backed up by science.
“Before we can be happy and successful, we need to create a positive reality that allow us to see the possibility for both.”
Seeing the possibility allows us to put more effort and energy to our goals, as we see a chance to achieve it. Basically, there are five strategies for becoming a “positive genius” (as Shawn Achor calls it).
Be the architect of your reality
Reality, in fact, is our choices. We have power to interpret it both in negative and positive ways. Positive geniuses can see reality in a more broaden perspective. They have the ability to view from different angles.
Shawn Achor explained that
“the positive geniuses think out of the box because they have richer association within existing knowledge structures and are flexible and creative.”.
By having a wider lens, we see more possibilities, which help us achieve more.
Map your meaning
Shawn Achor pointed out that we need to find a ‘meaning marker‘ in our mind maps which points us to the direction of possibility and opportunity.
You should be able to identify three questions.
- What is your goal?
- Why that is your goal?
- How you are going to achieve it?
The last important point is to always plan before making an escape plan. Ordinary or pessimistic people usually prepare for the time they fail. However, Achor pointed out that that the time you spend on preparing your escape plan is the time you should spend on making the success plan. So, why bother preparing to fail when you can prepare to succeed?
Create a boost
To achieve your goal faster, you need accelerants. Achor evidenced research that the brain releases extra energy as soon as it sees the chance to win.
“The positive genius construct their goal based on the fact that how well they seem to reach.”
Different types of goal require different amount of energy. The thrust you use in each goal depends on how much meaning you give to it. One of his techniques is to look backward on what we’ve already accomplished. That, it reminds us how good we are and boost our energy to continue working towards you goals.
Cancelling the noise
It is hard to concentrate at your goals while you are distracted by the negativity, worries and the bad things. In fact, our brain is evolved to detect threats faster than positive events.
However, to become both happy and successful, we need to wire our brain for positivity. It does not mean we ignore the negativity. Instead, we reinterpret it.
According to Achor;
“Positive geniuses can see problems just as well as pessimists; the difference is that when a pessimist sees a problem, he foresees only more problems, whereas a positive genius foresees overcoming that problem and thus works harder and smarter to find solutions and avenues for doing so.”
In his book, Achor gives different criteria of noise, the way to stop addiction, and how to deal with our internal noise.
Do you remember the replicating of ideas in the movie “Inception”? Well, the same goes to being a positive genius.
By transferring our valuable reality to others, not only can we help them to see their own possibility, but also we can create resources for our own growth as well.
Furthermore, Achor stated that we have the power to initiate the positive reality by franchising the success, rewriting the social script, and creating the shared narrative.
Following all five strategies for becoming a positive genius would mean nothing if we only use it for our own good. We should pass and spread these wonderful ideas to others for all to use.
As Achor summed it up in his last chapter;
“if you are successful at creating a positive reality but incapable of sharing it with others, then that reality will be limited and short lived, but by utilizing the techniques of positive inception, you can create a renewable source of positive energy for you and the people around you.”
Before Happiness on Amazon
You can get your own copy of this book here. Enjoy!