“My experience is what I agree to attend to.” ~William James
I’m excited to share a fantastic book with you by psychologist Shawn Achor about changing our approach to success and happiness. In the appropriately titled The Happiness Advantage, Achor explores how “conventional wisdom” states that if we work hard, we will succeed and then find happiness. If I can just get that promotion, find the perfect mate, gain the muscle mass, then I will be happy. Achor says, no, it’s the other away around. This principle reminds me of an anonymous quote I was told recently, “Be happy as you await happiness.” The message is that we must accept where we are, and find enjoyment in the process as we work toward the desired goal. The means must be as rewarding as the result because “happiness is the center around which success orbits” (61).
For over a decade, Achor researched and taught positive psychology techniques to maximize happiness and improve potential. His focus is primarily about how we can raise our effectiveness at work in a corporate setting, but his concepts are applicable to all aspects of our lives. In this passage, he explains we have a choice about how we look at the world: