Before Happiness Book Summary By Shawn Achor

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Before Happiness is a self-help book with a unique perspective.

Rather than offering up a simple, step-by-step plan for achieving happiness and success, this book takes an in-depth look at what we need to have in place before reaching these goals.

It advocates for an entire overhaul of the way we view reality, urging us to approach life's challenges head on instead.

This book will help you discover how to make lasting change so that you can create more fulfilling, meaningful experiences in your life.

That's the promise of Before Happiness.

Before Happiness

Book Name: Before Happiness (The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness, and Sustaining Positive Change)

Author(s): Shawn Achor

Rating: 4.6/5

Reading Time: 24 Minutes

Categories: Mindfulness & Happiness

Author Bio

Shawn Achor is a renowned leader in the field of positive psychology.

After twelve years of teaching and researching at Harvard, he became the CEO of Good Think Inc., a Cambridge-based consulting firm where he continues his research today.

He has written two bestselling books that have made it to the New York Times Best Sellers list: The Happiness Advantage and Big Potential.

Achor's research and findings have helped thousands of individuals find happiness and success in their pursuit of life.

He speaks regularly around the world at conferences, universities, and other events, furthering his efforts to build more positive societies everywhere.

Discover The Secret To Lasting Happiness And Success: Unlock Your Positive Genius

Happiness And Success

Did you know that some people have mastered the art of “positive genius” – which enables them to succeed and be happy despite whatever hand of cards life has dealt them? It’s true, but it’s not something one is born with.

In fact, it’s a skill anyone can acquire!

By reading Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Joy, and Sustaining Positive Change by SHAJOHN Avila, you’ll learn how you too can become a positive genius.

You’ll discover how there is more to happiness and success than just positive thinking; why the glass isn’t just half empty or half full; and how a simple ratio can help you find a better way of thinking about the world.

You don’t need luck or talent to be successful or happy ever after – all you need is this book!

By following the five steps laid out in Before Happiness, you can develop the skills necessary for mastering the art of positive genius and living your best life.

Perception Is Key To Achieving Happiness And Success

When it comes to achieving happiness and success in life, our outlook matters more than money, social connections or any other external resources.

We could have remarkable intelligence and talent, but without the right mindset we may still fail to reach our goals.

That’s why it’s so important to realize that our ability to create the life we aspire to hinges on whether we believe we can do it or not.

We all possess certain internal resources like energy, drive and focus that allow us to accomplish whatever tasks are put before us.

It is up to us if we make full use of them, or just let them go wasted – and no matter how much natural talent and intelligence you may have, they won’t do any good if you don’t put them into action.

The author of Before Happiness makes the point that if your goal seems impossible due to external factors such as an unsupportive boss or a seemingly unmanageable workload, then you will be less likely to try at all – regardless of the personal resources available at your disposal.

The more achievable a goal is perceived as being, the more likely you are to channel those resources into trying your best – which can only ever increase your chances for success overall.

Our Perceptions Of Reality Are Subjective And Variable: Understanding How Our Minds Influence The Challenges We Face

Perceptions Of Reality

When it comes to dealing with life’s challenges, our perception of them is highly subjective and variable.

The same issue that might seem overwhelming one day can appear to be much less daunting the next.

Psychological research has even shown that our physical state can influence how difficult we perceive a problem to be.

Something which could easily be dealt with when you’re feeling energetic and optimistic might feel almost insurmountable when you’re worn out or in a bad mental space.

Similarly, there are all sorts of other factors that can make a challenge appear more difficult than it actually is, such as our beliefs, attitudes, emotions and thoughts.

We all view reality differently – what might feel heavy for one person could be nothing for another.

In this way, we should take our perceptions with caution and attempt to find ways to use the subjective element of reality to our advantage rather than letting it bring us down.

Tap Into The Power Of Perception To Unlock Your Positive Genius

We all have the power to change our perceptions of reality – and when we do, it can start a chain reaction that leads to transformation in what is real.

This point was made clear in the book Before Happiness by Shawn Achor.

It’s pretty simple: if you’re feeling overwhelmed with a burden too heavy for you to carry, try changing your perception — for instance, by making sure you’re getting enough sleep and eating right.

Doing this can make your mind more energized and able to view the situation in a new way, which will make you perceive it as easier to accomplish.

That enhanced perception then causes a snowball effect that leads to actual changes in your reality because you are now motivated to put more effort into the task and achieve success.

By taking action to alter our perspective on our environment, we can create a positive spiral of events that ultimately benefit us by creating an advantageous version of reality.

It’s not just about “positive thinking” as some self-help gurus suggest – it’s also about actually doing meaningful things that enable us to see things from a fresh angle and cultivate what Achor calls “positive genius.”

Our Reality Is Constructed By Our Minds And We Have The Power To Choose How We Interpret It

Power To Choose

We know that our reality isn’t a purely objective phenomenon and that our experience of it is subjective.

Beyond that, we can recognize that the way we view our world is not only influenced by what is “out there,” but also much by what goes on inside of us—in other words, in our minds.

In Before Happiness, it’s argued that your mind creates maps of this reality and these maps differ from person to person regarding which details are highlighted and which are omitted.

It’s like real maps: Not every single nook and cranny is included – only those deemed important are shown.

In the same way, our minds can focus on certain aspects of reality more than others depending on how we decide to look at things.

In short, when it comes to happiness and success, it’s wise to strive for mental maps constructed with empowering insights as opposed to negative ones.

Our minds have an extraordinary ability to create different types of maps – some more beneficial to us than others – so make sure yours leads you in the right direction.

Stress Can Unleash Powerful Benefits If We Change Our Perception Of It

We all get stressed out in life and are used to viewing it as a bad thing.

But in reality, stress can have both positive and negative effects, depending on how you view it.

The key is to break free of our usual way of looking at the world and create better mental maps of reality.

To prove this point, researcher conducted a study on some stressed-out managers from the bank UBS, who were split into two groups.

Those in the first group were asked to focus on the negative effects of stress, while those in the second group concentrated on the positives instead.

The results? Managers in the second group experienced a 23 percent decrease in physical symptoms of stress as well as a 30-percent increase in productivity!

All because they took control of their thoughts about stress and changed their perspectives.

We Can Enhance Our Perception Of Reality By Looking At The World In New Ways

In The Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness and Sustaining Positive Change, Shawn Achor explains that we can expand our perception of reality by viewing the world from new perspectives and focusing on different details.

This is a meaningful way to improve our mental maps of reality, as it exposes us to new perspectives that we may not have considered before.

The simple act of changing our viewpoint or angle can lead to tremendous insight and understanding regarding how things really work in the world.

It’s like looking at the glass half full instead of just half empty – but now this thought process extends far beyond merely viewing the glass as half full or half empty.

You must explore multiple angles and focus on various details you may have overlooked before to truly broaden your vision.

In fact, medical students at Yale are taught this exercise; a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed improved results when these students implemented this concept in their learning process.

Not only does it help them become better critical thinkers, but more importantly it helps them realize new perspectives about their reality that weren’t obvious initially.

Developing The Skill Of Finding Our Most Valuable Reality

Valuable Reality

In what Shawn Achor, author of Before Happiness, calls “the language of positive psychology,” creating an optimal mental map requires discovering the best and most productive ways to perceive reality.

This means creating a map that is accurate, helpful, and ultimately empowering.

Achieving this requires practice; and so one exercise could involve looking at an object or concept you encounter daily and making connections out of it.

In the example provided in the book, the participant chose their email inbox.

By listing as many words and phrases as possible related to their email inbox in 30 seconds – with positive descriptions receiving triple points to counteract our minds’ inclination towards negative – they can start to find their “most valuable reality.’

This encourages detaching oneself from negative thoughts or emotions surrounding a specific thing, while also still factoring in these realities into your world view.

It gives you the ability to recognize both good and bad; but also challenge yourself by focusing on more of the good than we tend to be used to seeing.

How To Use The 3:1 Ratio Of Positive-To-Negative Thoughts For Happiness And Success

Once you’ve identified your most valuable reality, it’s time to take action!

The good news is that by recognizing the 3:1 ratio of positive-to-negative thoughts that successful people adhere to, you can apply this knowledge to your own life and turn it into a path towards happiness and success.

The key is identifying exactly what those things mean to you.

That means writing down a list of at least ten activities or accomplishments which make you feel happy and successful.

Make sure they’re not too vague (e.g.

“family”) but more specific (e.g.

“weekly calls with my sister”), so you have concrete goals to focus on when creating your roadmap for happiness and success.

Once you have that list, the next step is to look at the resources – both material and otherwise – that you already possess, as well as any opportunities that may bring you closer to one of your goals.

That could be demonstrating leadership skills in the workplace or taking advantage of whatever free time or financial resources are available to you.

By leveraging existing resources and opportunities wisely, plus continuously reminding yourself of the 3:1 ratio for success, including focusing on positives over negatives, charting a course towards happiness and success can become achievable and attainable!

Wrap Up

The overall message of “Before Happiness” is that we can decide how to perceive our reality and by looking at situations from new angles and focusing on different facets, we can create a more conducive environment in which to be happier and more successful.

One practical tip for achieving this is to maintain a ratio of 3 positive details for every negative detail.

To gain proficiency in this practice, one should try challenging oneself by using it everyday with people and issues in their lives.

Doing so will the intent thinking become a habit and eventually become second nature.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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