In ‘Before Happiness’, Shawn Achor, the Harvard researcher and bestselling author, gives practical, science-based guidelines for becoming happier.
“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 the power to interpret it both in negative and positive ways. Positive geniuses can see reality in a more broader perspective. They have the ability to view reality 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 is that your goal?
- How are you 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 goals require different amounts 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 back on what we’ve already accomplished. It reminds us how good we are and boosts our energy to continue working towards your goals.
Cancelling the noise
It is hard to concentrate on your goals while you are distracted by the negativity and worries. 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 shows us how to deal with our internal noise and ways to stop addictions.
Do you remember the replicating of ideas in the movie “Inception”? Well, the same goes for being a positive genius.
By transferring our valuable reality to others, not only can we help them to see their own possibility, but we can also create resources for our own growth as well.
Furthermore, Achor states that we have the power to initiate positive reality by franchising success, rewriting the social script, and creating a 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 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!