Revisiting The Happiness Advantage

Common sense is not common action.
— Principle #6: The 20-Second Rule

Despite our best intentions, The Happiness Advantage author Shawn Achor says that it’s become too common of a situation where we don’t follow the advice that we preach to others, or think is stupidly obvious. This extends to the first-year course in Queen’s Commerce that many of my classmates and I disliked at the time - COMM 153. Managing Work & Teams.

We covered mindfulness, managing your well-being, and social investment through COMM 153. Excerpts of The Happiness Advantage were justifiably an assigned reading for the course. It was ahead of its time, and perhaps it really does take 2-3 years in the rat race to see its value. In class it seemed so simple, but it’s been hard to consciously act upon it. Usually, people only confide to only a few friends that they trust about those topics. And sometimes it’s not talked about at all, from personal experience.

It’s upsetting, especially since social support is the greatest asset one can have. The correlation between social support and happiness is an unreal 0.7 - researchers usually consider significance to start at 0.3! Yet we tend to isolate ourselves when things get tough, rather than consult our emotional support team - friends, family, significant others, etc. Common sense is simply not common action.

That’s okay though… change takes time, and change requires relearning some concepts.

I’ve been going through the process of reshaping my mindset for a while now, and I’m noticing the positive effects it’s had on my attitude, stress, and happiness (of course). It’s the simple things like seeing challenges as opportunities, and training myself to look for positive moments in my day-to-day, staying inside instead of going to Cogro to “do work”, and failing up. I feel amazing - let’s keep it moving.

Other nuggets of wisdom from the book

  • When three strangers meet in a room, the most emotionally expressive person transmits their mood to others within two minutes.

  • The Losada Ratio (2.9013) - The minimum ratio of positive to negative interactions necessary to create a thriving and successful environment.

  • There are jobs, careers, and then there are callings. A calling - the work is beneficial, draws on our strengths, and contributes to the greater good.

  • Happiness is an input, not an output. It fuels success (and everything else in our lives), not the other way around.