Lessons from Shawn Achor

Lessons from Shawn Achor: Keys to Happiness

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“Happiness is not something that can be pursued. It must ensue.” – Viktor Frankl

Welcome to our article on the lessons we can learn from Shawn Achor, a leading expert on positive psychology and the connection between happiness and success. In a world where happiness is often seen as an elusive goal, Achor’s insights provide valuable strategies and mindset shifts that can help individuals achieve greater happiness, wellbeing, and success.

Positive psychology is a field that focuses on understanding what truly makes us happy and how we can cultivate happiness as a habit. Achor’s research has shown that happiness is not just a byproduct of success, but a powerful advantage that can lead to success in various aspects of life.

Key Takeaways:

  • Choose happiness as a conscious choice in life.
  • Cultivate gratitude and optimism through daily practices.
  • Find joy in meaningful experiences and double their significance.
  • Add fun and active cardio to create a cascade of success.
  • Incorporate meditation into daily routines for a calmer mind.

The Power of Gratitude

One of the key happiness habits promoted by Shawn Achor is practicing gratitude. He suggests writing down three new things to be grateful for each day, which can help rewiring the brain for greater optimism. By focusing on the positive aspects of life, individuals can cultivate a mindset of gratitude that can enhance happiness and overall wellbeing.

Research supports the idea that gratitude can lead to increased levels of positivity and happiness, as well as improved mental health. Grateful individuals are more likely to experience a sense of optimism and positivity, even in challenging situations. This can have a profound effect on their overall wellbeing and quality of life.

Gratitude has been shown to have a rewiring effect on the brain, enhancing neural pathways associated with positivity and happiness. By consciously acknowledging and appreciating the good things in life, individuals can create a positive feedback loop that reinforces optimism and resilience. This rewiring of the brain can help individuals shift their focus from negative to positive, ultimately leading to a more fulfilling and happier life.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it turns problems into gifts, failures into successes, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie

The Benefits of Gratitude

  • Enhanced positivity and optimism
  • Improved mental health and wellbeing
  • Increased resilience in the face of challenges
  • Greater ability to find joy in small things
  • Strengthened relationships and social connections
  • Reduced stress and anxiety levels

By incorporating gratitude into daily routines, individuals can develop a habit of focusing on the positive aspects of life and appreciating the blessings they have. This simple practice can have a profound impact on overall happiness and wellbeing.

Research Findings Supporting Evidence
Gratitude improves mental health A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that keeping a gratitude journal led to significant improvements in participants’ mental health and overall happiness.
Gratitude enhances relationships Research conducted at the University of California, Berkeley, found that expressing gratitude towards a partner can lead to increased relationship satisfaction and long-term stability.
Gratitude reduces stress According to a study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, gratitude exercises have been shown to reduce stress levels and increase feelings of calmness and relaxation.

Incorporating gratitude into daily life does not require elaborate rituals or significant time commitments. Simple practices such as keeping a gratitude journal, expressing appreciation to others, or taking a moment to savor positive experiences can make a meaningful difference.

Take a moment each day to reflect on the things you are grateful for. By cultivating a mindset of gratitude, you can increase your positivity, happiness, and overall wellbeing.

Finding Joy in Meaningful Experiences

Another happiness habit recommended by Shawn Achor is the “Doubler” exercise. This involves spending two minutes each day describing a meaningful experience from the past 24 hours, with the aim of doubling its meaning in life. By reflecting on positive and meaningful moments, individuals can enhance their overall sense of joy and fulfillment. According to Achor, finding joy in meaningful experiences can contribute to the happiness advantage, leading to greater success and wellbeing.

One of the key aspects of happiness that Shawn Achor emphasizes is the importance of doubling the meaning of our experiences. By taking just a few minutes each day to reflect on a meaningful experience from the past 24 hours, we can enhance its significance in our lives. This exercise allows us to savor the positive moments and find joy in even the smallest things.

When we focus on meaningful experiences, we tap into a deep well of joy that can have a profound impact on our wellbeing. These experiences can be as simple as spending quality time with loved ones, engaging in a favorite hobby, or accomplishing a personal goal. By intentionally seeking out and appreciating these moments, we can cultivate a greater sense of fulfillment and happiness.

The happiness advantage that comes from finding joy in meaningful experiences extends beyond our personal lives. When we experience joy and fulfillment, we are more likely to approach challenges with a positive mindset, make better decisions, and perform at our best. This not only benefits us individually but also impacts our relationships, work, and overall success.

The Power of Meaningful Experiences

What makes an experience meaningful? It’s something that resonates deeply with us, aligns with our values, and brings a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Meaningful experiences can be different for everyone, as they are unique to our individual journeys. They can include moments of connection, personal growth, achievement, or simply finding beauty in the world around us.

By focusing on and doubling the meaning of these experiences, we give them greater weight and significance in our lives. We appreciate the positive impact they have on our overall wellbeing and draw strength from them during challenging times. It’s like taking a magnifying glass to these moments, allowing us to fully embrace their joy and significance.

“The Doubler exercise is a powerful tool for finding joy in meaningful experiences. By deliberately reflecting on and doubling the meaning of these moments, we can enhance our overall sense of happiness and fulfillment.” – Shawn Achor

Making Time for Meaningful Experiences

In our fast-paced and often hectic lives, it can be easy to overlook or dismiss the significance of meaningful experiences. However, making time for these moments is essential for our happiness and wellbeing. Taking just a few minutes each day to reflect on and appreciate the meaningful experiences we’ve had can have a profound impact on our overall outlook and happiness.

Here are some simple steps you can take to incorporate the Doubler exercise into your daily routine:

  1. Set aside two minutes each day: Find a quiet and comfortable space where you can reflect on your meaningful experiences without distractions. It can be helpful to set a specific time each day to ensure consistency.
  2. Choose a recent meaningful experience: Think back on the past 24 hours and identify a moment that brought you joy, fulfillment, or a sense of meaning. It can be something big or small, as long as it resonates with you.
  3. Reflect on the experience: Take a few moments to fully immerse yourself in that experience. What made it meaningful? How did it align with your values or bring you joy? Reflect on the positive emotions and impact it had on your overall wellbeing.
  4. Double the meaning: Now, imagine doubling the significance of that experience. How does it become even more meaningful in your life? How does it impact your relationships, work, or personal growth? Allow yourself to fully embrace the joy and fulfillment it brings.
  5. Express gratitude: Finally, express gratitude for that meaningful experience. Whether through journaling, sharing it with others, or simply acknowledging it silently, expressing gratitude can enhance the positive emotions associated with that moment.

By consistently practicing the Doubler exercise, you can train your mind to seek out and appreciate meaningful experiences on a deeper level. This simple habit can have a ripple effect, leading to an increased sense of joy, fulfillment, and overall wellbeing.

The Happiness Advantage of Meaningful Experiences

Finding joy in meaningful experiences is not only a source of personal happiness but also a powerful advantage in all areas of our lives. When we prioritize and savor these moments, we shift our perspective, allowing us to approach challenges with a positive mindset and find opportunities for growth.

Research has shown that individuals who regularly engage in meaningful experiences have higher levels of happiness and life satisfaction. They are also more likely to have stronger relationships, increased resilience, and a greater sense of purpose. By focusing on these experiences, we cultivate a positive and proactive mindset that can lead to greater success and wellbeing.

So, take a few moments each day to reflect on and double the meaning of your experiences. Find joy in the small moments, embrace the beauty of life, and appreciate the positive impact these experiences have on your overall happiness and success.

Benefits of Finding Joy in Meaningful Experiences How it Enhances our Lives
Increased Happiness By focusing on meaningful experiences, we tap into a deeper well of joy and fulfillment.
Greater Wellbeing Appreciating these moments contributes to our overall sense of wellbeing and life satisfaction.
Positive Mindset Reflecting on meaningful experiences helps us approach challenges with a positive and proactive mindset.
Stronger Relationships By prioritizing these experiences, we enhance our relationships and deepen connections with others.

Adding Fun and Active Cardio

When it comes to enhancing happiness and success, Shawn Achor emphasizes the importance of incorporating fun and active cardio into our daily routines. Achor recommends dedicating 15 minutes each day to engage in enjoyable physical activities, creating what he calls a “fun fifteen.” This simple habit can have a cascading effect on our overall wellbeing and motivation.

Engaging in fun and active cardio not only boosts our mood and energy levels but also contributes to an increased sense of happiness. When we participate in activities we enjoy, such as dancing, playing a sport, or going for a bike ride, we release endorphins, which are known as the “feel-good” hormones. These endorphins create a positive and uplifting effect, helping to enhance our overall sense of happiness and motivation.

Research supports the idea that regular exercise, including fun and active cardio, has a significant impact on our mental health and wellbeing. Physical activity has been linked to reduced stress levels, improved mood, and increased self-confidence. By incorporating fun and active cardio into our daily lives, we set ourselves up for success in multiple areas.

Engaging in fun and active cardio can boost mood and energy levels, leading to an increased sense of happiness and motivation.

The Benefits of Fun and Active Cardio:

  • Boosts mood and energy levels
  • Increases happiness and motivation
  • Decreases stress and anxiety
  • Improves mental health and overall wellbeing
  • Enhances physical fitness and stamina
Types of Fun and Active Cardio Duration
Dancing 15 minutes
Skipping rope 15 minutes
Playing a sport 15 minutes
Cycling 15 minutes
Hiking 15 minutes

By incorporating fun and active cardio into our daily routines, we can create a positive cascade of success, improving both our physical and mental wellbeing. So, let’s make the most of our “fun fifteen” and prioritize activities that bring us joy and happiness.

The Benefits of Meditation

Meditation has been practiced for centuries and is known for its numerous benefits in promoting overall well-being. Shawn Achor, a leading expert on happiness and success, recommends investing just two minutes a day in meditation as a powerful happiness habit that can help train the brain to focus and reduce stress.

Research has shown that regular meditation can have a profound impact on individuals, promoting increased levels of calmness, contentment, and empathy. By setting aside a few minutes each day to practice mindfulness and meditation, individuals can cultivate a more positive mindset and enhance their overall happiness.

Mindfulness, a core aspect of meditation, involves paying attention to the present moment without judgment. This practice trains the brain to be more focused and less reactive to stressors, allowing individuals to navigate life’s challenges with greater ease and clarity.

Meditation is also a valuable tool for stress reduction. By dedicating time to sit quietly and focus on one’s breath or a chosen mantra, individuals can let go of the anxieties and worries that may be weighing them down. This practice promotes a sense of inner peace and tranquility, counteracting the negative effects of stress on both the mind and body.

Furthermore, regular meditation can help undo the detrimental effects of multitasking. In today’s fast-paced world, many individuals find themselves constantly juggling multiple tasks and responsibilities. This constant switching of attention can lead to mental fatigue and decreased productivity. By incorporating meditation into daily routines, individuals can train their brains to enhance focus and concentration, leading to improved cognitive performance.

There are various meditation techniques to explore, including guided meditation, mindfulness meditation, and loving-kindness meditation. Each technique offers unique benefits and can be tailored to suit individual preferences and needs.

The Science Behind Meditation

The benefits of meditation are supported by scientific research. Studies have shown that regular meditation can result in positive changes in the brain, including increased gray matter volume in brain areas associated with compassion, emotional regulation, and decision-making.

Moreover, meditation has been found to reduce activity in the amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for generating fear and stress responses. This reduction in amygdala activity contributes to a greater sense of calmness and overall well-being.

Additionally, meditation has been shown to improve attention and focus, memory, and emotional resilience. It can also enhance self-awareness and self-compassion, allowing individuals to cultivate a deeper connection with themselves and others.

Meditation is a powerful tool that can be easily incorporated into daily routines. By dedicating just a few minutes each day to quieting the mind and focusing inward, individuals can experience the transformative benefits of meditation and pave the way for a happier, more fulfilling life.

The Power of Acts of Kindness

When it comes to cultivating happiness and improving overall wellbeing, conscious acts of kindness can have a profound impact. Shawn Achor, a leading expert on happiness and success, emphasizes the importance of engaging in acts of kindness to boost happiness levels and enhance relationships.

Achor suggests taking just two minutes each day to write an email expressing gratitude to someone in your social support network. This simple act of kindness not only increases happiness but also serves as a predictor of overall wellbeing. By consciously engaging in acts of kindness, individuals can create a positive ripple effect in their lives and the lives of others.

“Conscious acts of kindness are like seeds of happiness that we plant in the world. They not only bring joy to others but also enrich our own lives.” – Shawn Achor

Research provides support for the positive effects of acts of kindness. Studies have shown that acts of kindness towards others can decrease stress levels, improve mental health, and enhance overall wellbeing. By extending kindness to others, we create a stronger social support network that can contribute to long-term happiness and life satisfaction.

Acts of kindness can take many forms, from small gestures like holding the door for someone to more significant actions such as volunteering in the community. The key is to be present in the moment and consciously choose to spread positivity and kindness.

Take a moment each day to reflect on how you can show kindness to others. It could be as simple as offering a listening ear to a friend in need or surprising a colleague with a small gift. These conscious acts of kindness not only bring happiness to others but also create a sense of fulfillment and purpose in our own lives.

The Gratitude Challenge:

  1. Make a list of three people in your social support network whom you are grateful for.
  2. Write an email to one of these individuals expressing your gratitude and appreciation.
  3. Repeat this process for the next two days, choosing different individuals each time.
Benefits of Acts of Kindness Research Findings
Decreased stress levels Research has shown that acts of kindness towards others can reduce stress and boost mental health.
Improved relationships Engaging in acts of kindness strengthens social connections and builds a supportive network.
Enhanced overall wellbeing Conscious acts of kindness contribute to increased happiness and life satisfaction.

The Importance of Reading

When it comes to personal development and achieving goals, reading can be a powerful tool. Shawn Achor, renowned expert in positive psychology, has written two influential books that provide valuable insights and strategies for cultivating happiness and achieving success: “The Happiness Advantage” and “Before Happiness.” Drawing from the field of positive psychology, these books emphasize the importance of mindset shifts, personal development, and goal achievement.

Reading “The Happiness Advantage” and “Before Happiness” allows individuals to gain valuable knowledge and practical tools for creating positive change in their lives. Achor’s expertise in positive psychology shines through as he shares engaging stories and research-backed strategies. These books serve as guides for individuals seeking to enhance their overall wellbeing and achieve their goals.

“Reading is a gateway to personal growth and happiness. Through books like ‘The Happiness Advantage’ and ‘Before Happiness,’ we can unlock the potential within ourselves and cultivate the mindset needed to thrive.” – Shawn Achor

The Happiness Advantage

“The Happiness Advantage” explores the idea that happiness is not just a result of success but a precursor to it. Achor provides evidence-based strategies to help readers harness the power of positive psychology and overcome common obstacles to happiness. This book lays the foundation for understanding how happiness impacts personal and professional success.

Before Happiness

In “Before Happiness,” Achor dives deeper into the concept of mindset and offers practical techniques to rewire the brain for positivity and success. By exploring the factors that shape our perception of reality, Achor provides insights on how individuals can cultivate a positive mindset even in challenging circumstances. This book empowers readers to proactively shape their own happiness and create a positive ripple effect in their lives.

Key Takeaways from “The Happiness Advantage” and “Before Happiness”

“The Happiness Advantage” “Before Happiness”
  • Focusing on happiness leads to greater success
  • Cultivating positive habits for lasting happiness
  • Building resilience and embracing challenges
  • Creating a positive work culture
  • Understanding the power of positive mindset
  • Identifying and leveraging positive triggers
  • Using the Zorro Circle for incremental progress
  • Creating a positive social support network

By delving into the principles outlined in “The Happiness Advantage” and “Before Happiness,” readers can gain a deeper understanding of how positive psychology can positively impact their lives. These books provide practical strategies and actionable steps that can be implemented to achieve personal and professional goals. They serve as valuable resources for anyone seeking to unlock their happiness advantage and thrive in all areas of life.

Shawn Achor: A Leading Expert on Happiness and Success

With his extensive research and expertise in positive psychology, Shawn Achor has established himself as a renowned authority on happiness and success. Having taught at Harvard University and worked closely with Fortune 100 companies, Achor possesses a deep understanding of the intricate connection between happiness and achieving one’s goals. His TED talk, which has garnered millions of views, and his bestselling books have made his valuable insights accessible to a wide audience.

Achor’s work delves into the realms of positive psychology, personal development, and the power of mindset shifts. Drawing upon his research, he reveals how cultivating happiness habits and adopting a growth mindset can pave the way for personal and professional fulfillment.

The Impact of Positive Psychology and Research

The field of positive psychology forms the foundation of Shawn Achor’s work. Through rigorous research, Achor has highlighted the profound impact of positive emotions, gratitude, and meaningful experiences on overall wellbeing and success. His findings emphasize that happiness is not just a byproduct of success but rather a catalyst for it, providing individuals with a competitive advantage.

“Happiness is a choice—a conscious decision to focus on the positive aspects of life. By cultivating happiness habits and incorporating simple yet effective strategies into our daily routines, we can position ourselves for greater success and fulfillment.” – Shawn Achor

Personal Development and Growth Mindset

Achor’s work also delves into the realm of personal development, emphasizing the power of continuous growth and a growth mindset. By actively seeking opportunities for learning and development, individuals can unlock their full potential and create positive change in their lives. Achor’s research-based strategies equip individuals with the tools to overcome challenges, embrace resilience, and achieve their goals.

Promoting Happiness and Success through Positive Psychology

Shawn Achor’s expertise in positive psychology, backed by his extensive research and practical approach, has transformed the lives of countless individuals. By integrating happiness habits, such as gratitude, mindfulness, acts of kindness, and incorporating meaningful experiences, individuals can improve their mental wellbeing, enhance their relationships, and achieve greater success in their personal and professional lives.

Discovering the Happiness Advantage

Achor’s groundbreaking work and insights provide a profound understanding of the happiness advantage–the idea that happiness is not just a result of success, but a precursor to it. By embracing positive psychology principles, individuals can unlock their potential and create a lasting impact on their overall happiness and success.

Shawn Achor’s research, expertise, and relatable approach have catapulted him to the forefront of the happiness and success movement. Through his teachings, individuals gain valuable knowledge and practical tools for creating positive change, fueling their personal development journeys and achieving lasting happiness and success.

Stay tuned for our upcoming section, where we explore the key takeaways and actionable tips from Shawn Achor’s groundbreaking work.


Shawn Achor’s lessons on happiness and success provide valuable insights and practical strategies for individuals seeking to enhance their wellbeing. By implementing happiness habits such as gratitude, meaningful experiences, fun activities, meditation, acts of kindness, and personal development through reading, individuals can cultivate a positive mindset and achieve their goals. Achor’s research and expertise show that happiness is a choice and that it can be a powerful advantage in achieving success and overall wellbeing.

Lessons from Shawn Achor’s positive psychology teachings emphasize the importance of mindset shifts and success strategies in cultivating happiness. By adopting these wellbeing habits, individuals can experience profound improvements in their mental and emotional state. Achor’s emphasis on gratitude, meaningful experiences, and acts of kindness highlights the transformative power of positive actions and mindset reprogramming.

With his background in teaching at Harvard University and extensive work with Fortune 100 companies, Shawn Achor has established himself as a leading expert in the field of happiness and success. His research-backed insights and practical tips have resonated with millions of people worldwide, inspiring them to prioritize their own wellbeing and pursue personal growth.

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  • Matthew Lee

    Matthew Lee is a distinguished Personal & Career Development Content Writer at ESS Global Training Solutions, where he leverages his extensive 15-year experience to create impactful content in the fields of psychology, business, personal and professional development. With a career dedicated to enlightening and empowering individuals and organizations, Matthew has become a pivotal figure in transforming lives through his insightful and practical guidance. His work is driven by a profound understanding of human behavior and market dynamics, enabling him to deliver content that is not only informative but also truly transformative.

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