The Happiness Advantage
The Happiness Advantage

The Happiness Advantage

If success causes happiness, then every employee who gets a promotion, every student who receives an acceptance letter, everyone who has ever accomplished a goal of any kind should be happy. But with each victory, our goalposts of success keep getting pushed further and further out, so that happiness gets pushed over the horizon. (Location 61)

John Milton wrote in Paradise Lost, “The Mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” (Location 93)

Tags: happiness, perspective

our interpretation of reality changes our experience of that reality. (Location 110)

Tags: perception

So I set out to find the students, those 1 in 5 who were truly flourishing—the individuals who were above the curve in terms of their happiness, performance, achievement, productivity, humor, energy, or resilience—to see what exactly was giving them such an advantage over their peers. (Location 132)

Breaking with traditional psychology’s focus on what makes people unhappy and how they can return to “normal,” these three were applying the same scientific rigor to what makes people thrive and excel—the very same questions I wanted to answer. (Location 138)

If we study merely what is average, we will remain merely average. (Location 159)

You can study gravity forever without learning how to fly. (Location 171)

This pattern of focusing on the negative pervades not only our research and schools but our society. Turn on the news, and the majority of airtime is spent on accidents, corruption, murders, abuse. This focus on the negative tricks our brains into believing that this sorry ratio is reality, that most of life is negative. (Location 178)

Tags: negativity

Note: Society tends to focus on the negative

Countless studies have found that social relationships are the best guarantee of heightened well-being and lowered stress, both an antidote for depression and a prescription for high performance. (Location 222)

Tags: relationships

Note: Social relationships are the best guarantee of heightened well-being and lowered stress

peers. It turns out that our brains are literally hardwired to perform at their best not when they are negative or even neutral, but when they are positive. (Location 232)

Tags: positivity, brain

THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES Once I’d finished gathering and analyzing this massive amount of research, I was able to isolate seven specific, actionable, and proven patterns that predict success and achievement. The Happiness Advantage—Because positive brains have a biological advantage over brains that are neutral or negative, this principle teaches us how to retrain our brains to capitalize on positivity and improve our productivity and performance. The Fulcrum and the Lever—How we experience the world, and our ability to succeed within it, constantly changes based on our mindset. This principle teaches us how we can adjust our mindset (our fulcrum) in a way that gives us the power (the lever) to be more fulfilled and successful. The Tetris Effect—When our brains get stuck in a pattern that focuses on stress, negativity, and failure, we set ourselves up to fail. This principle teaches us how to retrain our brains to spot patterns of possibility, so we can see—and seize—opportunity wherever we look. Falling Up—In the midst of defeat, stress, and crisis, our brains map different paths to help us cope. This principle is about finding the mental path that not only leads us up out of failure or suffering, but teaches us to be happier and more successful because of it. The Zorro Circle—When challenges loom and we get overwhelmed, our rational brains can get hijacked by emotions. This principle teaches us how to regain control by focusing first on small, manageable goals, and then gradually expanding our circle to achieve bigger and bigger ones. The 20-Second Rule—Sustaining lasting change often feels impossible because our willpower is limited. And when willpower fails, we fall back on our old habits and succumb to the path of least resistance. This principle shows how, by making small energy adjustments, we can reroute the path of least resistance and replace bad habits with good ones. Social Investment—In the midst of challenges and stress, some people choose to hunker down and retreat within themselves. But the most successful people invest in their friends, peers, and family members to propel themselves forward. This principle teaches us how to invest more in one of the greatest predictors of success and excellence—our social support network. (Location 256)

Happiness is not the belief that we don’t need to change; it is the realization that we can. (Location 374)

The answer in both cases above is obvious and inescapable. Brain change, once thought impossible, is now a well-known fact, one that is supported by some of the most rigorous and cutting-edge research in neuroscience. (Location 452)

When we are happy—when our mindset and mood are positive—we are smarter, more motivated, and thus more successful. Happiness is the center, and success revolves around it. (Location 521)

not even the all-knowing Google has a definitive answer to this question. That’s because there is no single meaning; happiness is relative to the person experiencing it. This is why scientists often refer to it as “subjective well-being”—because it’s based on how we each feel about our own lives. (Location 551)

So how do the scientists define happiness? Essentially, as the experience of positive emotions—pleasure combined with deeper feelings of meaning and purpose. Happiness implies a positive mood in the present and a positive outlook for the future. (Location 557)

Tags: purpose, happiness

Martin Seligman, the pioneer in positive psychology, has broken it down into three, measurable components: pleasure, engagement, and meaning. (Location 558)

For me, happiness is the joy we feel striving after our potential. (Location 564)

describes the ten most common positive emotions: “joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, and love.” (Location 568)

happiness causes success and achievement, not the opposite. (Location 592)

“Broaden and Build Theory.”14 Instead of narrowing our actions down to fight or flight as negative emotions do, positive ones broaden the amount of possibilities we process, making us more thoughtful, creative, and open to new ideas. (Location 627)

Positive emotions flood our brains with dopamine and serotonin, chemicals that not only make us feel good, but dial up the learning centers of our brains to higher levels. They help us organize new information, keep that information in the brain longer, and retrieve it faster later on. And they enable us to make and sustain more neural connections, which allows us to think more quickly and creatively, become more skilled at complex analysis and problem solving, and see and invent new ways of doing things. (Location 634)

Even the smallest shots of positivity can give someone a serious competitive edge. (Location 690)

Tags: positivity, competition

While we each have a happiness baseline that we fluctuate around on a daily basis, with concerted effort, we can raise that baseline permanently so that even when we are going up and down, we are doing so at a higher level. (Location 732)

individuals told to complete five acts of kindness over the course of a day report feeling much happier than control groups and that the feeling lasts for many subsequent days, far after the exercise is over. (Location 766)

studies have shown that the less negative TV we watch, specifically violent media, the happier we are. (Location 781)

Tags: news

Psychologists have found that people who watch less TV are actually more accurate judges of life’s risks and rewards than those who subject themselves to the tales of crime, tragedy, and death that appear night after night on the ten o’clock news.32 That’s because these people are less likely to see sensationalized or one-sided sources of information, and thus see reality more clearly. (Location 782)

Tags: news, tv

Physical activity can boost mood and enhance our work performance in a number of other ways as well, by improving motivation and feelings of mastery, reducing stress and anxiety, and helping us get into flow—that “locked in” feeling of total engagement that we usually get when we’re at our most productive. (Location 787)

Tags: exercise

Contrary to the popular saying, money can buy happiness, but only if used to do things as opposed to simply have things. (Location 798)

Tags: experiences, money

The positive feelings we get from material objects are frustratingly fleeting, spending money on experiences, especially ones with other people, produces positive emotions that are both more meaningful and more lasting. (Location 799)

Tags: consumerism

Exercise a Signature Strength. Everyone is good at something—perhaps you give excellent advice, or you’re great with little kids, or you whip up a mean batch of blueberry pancakes. Each time we use a skill, whatever it is, we experience a burst of positivity. If you find yourself in need of a happiness booster, revisit a talent you haven’t used in a while. (Location 811)

Anyone can send ripples of positivity throughout their workplace. But one thing I’ve found in my work with managers and companies is that this is even more true for leaders or people in a position of authority—mainly because (a) they determine company policies and shape the workplace culture; (b) they are often expected to set an example for their employees; and (c) they tend to interact with the most people over the course of the day. (Location 833)

Tags: leadership

Chip Conley, CEO of a wildly successful chain of boutique hotels, makes time at the end of his executive meetings to allow one person to talk for one minute about someone in the company who deserves recognition. (Location 867)

Tags: ceo, appreciate, meetings

After the executive has spoken for one minute about why this employee deserves recognition, a different executive at the meeting volunteers to call, e-mail, or visit that employee to tell him or her what a great job that employee is doing. (Location 870)

Based on Losada’s extensive mathematical modeling, 2.9013 is the ratio of positive to negative interactions necessary to make a corporate team successful. This means that it takes about three positive comments, experiences, or expressions to fend off the languishing effects of one negative. (Location 902)

Although we would never have used these words, my sister and I began to realize that our brains are like single processors capable of devoting only a finite amount of resources to experiencing the world. Because our brain’s resources are limited, we are left with a choice: to use those finite resources to see only pain, negativity, stress, and uncertainty, or to use those resources to look at things through a lens of gratitude, hope, resilience, optimism, and meaning. In other words, while we of course can’t change reality through sheer force of will alone, we can use our brain to change how we process the world, and that in turn changes how we react to it. Happiness is not about lying to ourselves, or turning a blind eye to the negative, but about adjusting our brain so that we see the ways to rise above our circumstances. (Location 942)

Note: Happiness is about adjusting our brain so that we see the ways to rise above our circumstances

In other words, “reality” is merely our brain’s relative understanding of the world based on where and how we are observing it. Most important, we can change this perspective at any moment, and by doing so change our experience of the world around us. (Location 985)

Tags: framing, outlook

As we’ll discover in this chapter, our external “reality” is far more malleable than many of us think, and far more dependent on the eyes through which we view it. With the right mindset, our power to dictate this reality—and in turn the results of our actions—increases exponentially. (Location 1012)

Tags: mindset

Note: Our mindset determines our external reality

I have done this experiment in nearly 40 countries, and every time I conduct it, I hear a tremendous range in answers. (Shanghai wins for the largest split: from 20 seconds to 7 minutes!) The point, of course, is that what feels like the blink of an eye to some can feel like an eternity to others. Depending on their mindset, each person experiences the objective reality of time differently. (Location 1027)

Tags: mindset, time management

the brain is organized to act on what we predict will happen next, something psychologists call “Expectancy Theory.” Dr. Marcel Kinsbourne, a neuroscientist at the New School for Social Research in New York, explains that our expectations create brain patterns that can be just as real as those created by events in the real world.4 In other words, the expectation of an event causes the same complex set of neurons to fire as though the event were actually taking place, triggering a cascade of events in the nervous system that leads to a whole host of real physical consequences. (Location 1051)

The mental construction of our daily activities, more than the activity itself, defines our reality. (Location 1065)

Tags: outlook

So when faced with a difficult task or challenge, give yourself an immediate competitive advantage by focusing on all the reasons you will succeed, rather than fail. Remind yourself of the relevant skills you have, rather than those you lack. Think of a time you have been in a similar circumstance in the past and performed well. Years of research have shown that a specific and concerted focus on your strengths during a difficult task produces the best results. (Location 1136)

Tags: strengths, challenges

Note: Focus on your strength's when completing tasks

Those with a “fixed mindset” believe that their capabilities are already set, while those with a “growth mindset” believe that they can enhance their basic qualities through effort. (Location 1152)

Tags: mindset

Sonja Lyubomirsky, a leader in the scientific study of well-being, has written that she prefers the phrase “creation or construction of happiness” to the more popular “pursuit,” since “research shows that it’s in our power to fashion it for ourselves.” (Location 1176)

Tags: happiness

Note: We have to power to create our own happiness. Create is better than pursuit!

employees have one of three “work orientations,” or mindsets about our work. We view our work as a Job, a Career, or a Calling. (Location 1184)

People with a “job” see work as a chore and their paycheck as the reward. They work because they have to and constantly look forward to the time they can spend away from their job. By contrast, people who view their work as a career work not only out of necessity, but also to advance and succeed. They are invested in their work and want to do well. Finally, people with a calling view work as an end in itself; their work is fulfilling not because of external rewards but because they feel it contributes to the greater good, draws on their personal strengths, and gives them meaning and purpose. Unsurprisingly, people with a calling orientation not only find their work more rewarding, but work harder and longer because of it. And as a result, these are the people who are generally more likely to get ahead. (Location 1185)

Tags: career

Imagine two janitors at the local elementary school. One focuses only on the mess he must clean up each night, while the other believes that he is contributing to a cleaner and healthier environment for the students. They both undertake the same tasks every day, but their different mindsets dictate their work satisfaction, their sense of fulfillment, and ultimately how well they do their job. (Location 1202)

The fastest way to disengage an employee is to tell him his work is meaningful only because of the paycheck. (Location 1233)

The Pygmalion Effect: when our belief in another person’s potential brings that potential to life. (Location 1277)

Tags: parenting, mindset

Every Monday, ask yourself these three questions: (1) Do I believe that the intelligence and skills of my employees are not fixed, but can be improved with effort?; (2) Do I believe that my employees want to make that effort, just as they want to find meaning and fulfillment in their jobs?; and (3) How am I conveying these beliefs in my daily words and actions? (Location 1295)

We have seen how 75-year-old men turned back their biological clocks, how a few choice words and beliefs can improve test scores, and how some employees find callings where others see only jobs. (Location 1312)

The heart of the challenge is to stop thinking of the world as fixed when reality is, in truth, relative. (Location 1312)

Constantly scanning the world for the negative comes with a great cost. It undercuts our creativity, raises our stress levels, and lowers our motivation and ability to accomplish goals. (Location 1388)

Tags: negativity

Note: Scan the world for positives rather than negatives

as one study from The Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics explains: “Law schools teach students to look for flaws in arguments, and they train them to be critical rather than accepting.”5 And while this of course is “a crucial skill for lawyers in practice,” when it starts to leak beyond the courtroom into their personal lives it can have “significant negative consequences.” (Location 1409)

And so it goes, in any profession or line of work. No one is immune. Athletes can’t stop competing with their friends or families. Social workers who deal with domestic abuse can’t stop distrusting men. Financial traders can’t stop assessing the risk inherent in everything they do. Managers can’t stop micromanaging their children’s lives. (Location 1420)

This is the essence of a Negative Tetris Effect: a cognitive pattern that decreases our overall success rates. But the Tetris Effect need not be maladaptive. (Location 1427)

This experiment highlights what psychologists call “inattentional blindness,” our frequent inability to see what is often right in front of us if we’re not focusing directly on (Location 1458)

This selective perception is also why when we are looking for something, we see it everywhere. You’ve probably experienced this a million times. You hear a song once, and suddenly it seems it’s always on the radio. You buy a new style of sneaker, and soon everyone at the gym is wearing the exact same pair. I remember the day I decided to buy a Toyota Prius, the streets suddenly began to overflow with them—every fourth car seemed to be a blue Prius (exactly the color I wanted to buy). (Location 1464)

When our brains constantly scan for and focus on the positive, we profit from three of the most important tools available to us: happiness, gratitude, and optimism. (Location 1488)

Tags: positivity, mindset

Countless other studies have shown that consistently grateful people are more energetic, emotionally intelligent, forgiving, and less likely to be depressed, anxious, or lonely. (Location 1493)

But armed with positivity, the brain stays open to possibility. Psychologists call this “predictive encoding”: Priming yourself to expect a favorable outcome actually encodes your brain to recognize the outcome when it does in fact arise. (Location 1521)

The best way to kick-start this is to start making a daily list of the good things in your job, your career, and your life. (Location 1539)

Tags: gratitude, happiness

Note: make daily gratitude list

When you write down a list of “three good things” that happened that day, your brain will be forced to scan the last 24 hours for potential positives—things that brought small or large laughs, feelings of accomplishment at work, a strengthened connection with family, a glimmer of hope for the future. In just five minutes a day, this trains the brain to become more skilled at noticing and focusing on possibilities for personal and professional growth, and seizing opportunities to act on them. (Location 1541)

Tags: positivity, newsletter

The better they got at scanning the world for good things to write down, the more good things they saw, without even trying, wherever they looked. (Location 1549)

There are also times when pessimism comes in handy—like when it stops us from making that foolish investment or risky career move, or from gambling with our health. Being critical can also be useful not just to individuals and businesses but to society as a whole, especially when it drives us to acknowledge inequalities and work to right them. (Location 1593)

The ideal mindset isn’t heedless of risk, but it does give priority to the good. (Location 1597)

Not just because that makes us happier but because that is precisely what creates more good. (Location 1598)

FALLING UP Capitalizing on the Downs to Build Upward Momentum (Location 1605)

Study after study shows that if we are able to conceive of a failure as an opportunity for growth, we are all the more likely to experience that growth. Conversely, if we conceive of a fall as the worst thing in the world, it becomes just that. (Location 1665)

Tags: growth, failure

By scanning our mental map for positive opportunities, and by rejecting the belief that every down in life leads us only further downward, we give ourselves the greatest power possible: the ability to move up not despite the setbacks, but because of them. (Location 1668)

Tags: challenges

People’s ability to find the path up rests largely on how they conceive of the cards they have been dealt, so the strategies that most often lead to Adversarial Growth include positive reinterpretation of the situation or event, optimism, acceptance, and coping mechanisms that include focusing on the problem head-on (rather than trying to avoid or deny (Location 1698)

In other words, the people who can most successfully get themselves up off the mat are those who define themselves not by what has happened to them, but by what they can make out of what has happened. (Location 1702)

Tags: challenges

They speak not just of “bouncing back,” but of “bouncing forward.” (Location 1704)

“things do not necessarily happen for the best, but some people are able to make the best out of things that happen.” (Location 1710)

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” (Location 1716)

In his book The Pursuit of Perfect, Tal Ben-Shahar writes that “we can only learn to deal with failure by actually experiencing failure, by living through it. The earlier we face difficulties and drawbacks, the better prepared we are to deal with the inevitable obstacles along our path.” (Location 1732)

Tags: failure

Note: We can only learn to deal with failure by experiencing failure

But the problem is, when we eliminate any upward options from our mental maps, and worse, eliminate our motivation to search for them, we end up undermining our ability to tackle the challenge at hand. (Location 1808)

You’ve probably heard the oft-told story of the two shoe salesmen who were sent to Africa in the early 1900s to assess opportunities. They wired separate telegrams back to their boss. One read: “Situation hopeless. They don’t wear shoes.” The other read: “Glorious opportunity! They don’t have any shoes yet.” (Location 1818)

Tags: opportunity, anecdote

Even though the responses differ dramatically, the point is that every brain in the room does the exact same thing. It invents—and that’s an important word—a “counterfact.” A counterfact is an alternate scenario our brains create to help us evaluate and make sense of what really happened. (Location 1882)

Here’s what I mean. The people who saw the outcome as unlucky imagined an alternate scenario of not having been shot at all; in comparison, their outcome seems very unfortunate. But the other group invented a very different alternate scenario: that they could have gotten shot in the head and died, or that many other people could have been hurt. Compared with that, surviving is very fortunate. (Location 1884)

Tags: mindset

choosing a positive counterfact, besides simply making us feel better, sets ourselves up for the whole host of benefits to motivation and performance we now know accompanies a positive mindset. (Location 1889)

Seligman had noticed that while most research subjects would indeed start to feel distressed and helpless after facing setback after setback, a consistent minority seemed immune. No matter what difficulty they faced, they always bounced right back. He soon discovered that they all shared a positive way of interpreting adversity—or what the researchers termed an optimistic “explanatory style.” (Location 1903)

Tags: perspective, challenges

Decades of subsequent study have since shown that explanatory style—how we choose to explain the nature of past events—has a crucial impact on our happiness and future success. (Location 1907)

Tags: explanatory style

People with an optimistic explanatory style interpret adversity as being local and temporary (i.e., “It’s not that bad, and it will get better.”) while those with a pessimistic explanatory style see these events as more global and permanent (i.e., “It’s really bad, and it’s never going to change.”). (Location 1908)

Tags: negativity, optimism

One way to help ourselves see the path from adversity to opportunity is to practice the ABCD model of interpretation: - Adversity Adversity is the event we can’t change

**- Belief **Belief is our reaction to the event; why we thought it happened and what we think it means for the future. Is it a problem that is only temporary and local in nature or do we think it is permanent and pervasive? Are there ready solutions, or do we think it is unsolvable? If we believe the former—that is, if we see the adversity as short-term or as an opportunity for growth or appropriately confined to only part of our life—then we maximize the chance of a positive

**- Consequence **That’s when it’s time to put the D to work

- Disputation Disputation involves first telling ourselves that our belief is just that—a belief, not fact—and then challenging (or disputing) (Location 1933)

“immune neglect,” which means we consistently forget how good our psychological immune system is at helping us get over adversity. Daniel (Location 1954)

THE ZORRO CIRCLE How Limiting Your Focus to Small, Manageable Goals Can Expand Your Sphere of Power (Location 1967)

Feeling that we are in control, that we are masters of our own fate at work and at home, is one of the strongest drivers of both well-being and performance. (Location 1998)

the most successful people, in work and in life, are those who have what psychologists call an “internal locus of control,” the belief that their actions have a direct effect on their outcomes. People with an external locus, on the other hand, are more likely to see daily events as dictated by external forces. (Location 2007)

way: The best way to wash a car is to put a thumb over the hose’s spout, so that only a fraction of the area is open. Why? Because this concentrates the water pressure, making the hose much more powerful. At work, the equivalent of this is concentrating your efforts on small areas where you know you can make a difference. (Location 2118)

As Harvard Business School professor Peter Bregman advises, “Don’t write a book, write a page. … Don’t expect to be a great manager in your first six months, just try to set expectations well.” (Location 2149)

No matter how small the initial circle is, it can lead to big returns. (Location 2151)

The point: Small successes can add up to major achievements. All it takes is drawing that first circle in the sand. (Location 2232)

PRINCIPLE #6 THE 20-SECOND RULE How to Turn Bad Habits into Good Ones by Minimizing Barriers to Change (Location 2234)

positive psychology draws on ideas from many esteemed sources ranging from ancient Greek philosophers, to hallowed religious traditions, to modern-day writers and thinkers. What’s more, I went on, the principles and theories are then empirically tested and validated. So while some of the ideas espoused by positive psychology may very well be common sense, it’s the science behind them that makes them unique and valuable. (Location 2241)

Common sense is not common action. (Location 2251)

in life, knowledge is only part of the battle. Without action, knowledge is often meaningless. (Location 2255)

Tags: execution

As Aristotle put it, to be excellent we cannot simply think or feel excellent, we must act excellently. (Location 2256)

the New York Times reports that a whopping 80 percent of us break our New Year’s resolutions. (Location 2264)

Humans, James said, are biologically prone to habit, and it is because we are “mere bundles of habits” that we are able to automatically perform many of our daily tasks—from brushing our teeth first thing in the morning to setting the alarm before climbing into bed at night. (Location 2280)

“A tendency to act,” he wrote, “only becomes effectively ingrained in us in proportion to the uninterrupted frequency with which the actions actually occur, and the brain ‘grows’ to their use.”5 In other words, habits form because our brain actually changes in response to frequent practice. (Location 2300)

The reason willpower is so ineffective at sustaining change is that the more we use it, the more worn-out it gets. (Location 2356)

The point of these experiments was to show that no matter how unrelated the tasks were, they all seemed to be tapping the same fuel source. As the researchers wrote, “many widely different forms of self-control draw on a common resource, or self-control strength, which is quite limited and hence can be depleted readily.”10 Put another way, our willpower weakens the more we use it. (Location 2375)

Tags: willpower

Note: We have limited willpower resources, which are drained by all activities we undertake

Unfortunately, we face a steady stream of tasks that deplete our willpower every single day. (Location 2379)

Tags: focus, willpower

The answer is that we are drawn—powerfully, magnetically—to those things that are easy, convenient, and habitual, and it is incredibly difficult to overcome this inertia. Active leisure is more enjoyable, but it almost always requires more initial effort—getting the bike out of the garage, driving to the museum, tuning the guitar, and so on. (Location 2410)

Csikszentmihalyi calls this “activation energy.” In physics, activation energy is the initial spark needed to catalyze a reaction. The same energy, both physical and mental, is needed of people to overcome inertia and kick-start a positive habit. Otherwise, human nature takes us down the path of least resistance time and time again. (Location 2412)

The actual time we give to these distractions is part of the problem, but the larger issue is that our attention hits a wall each time we stray. Research shows that the average employee gets interrupted from their work every 11 minutes, and on each occasion experiences a loss of concentration and flow that takes almost as many minutes to recover from.17 Yet in today’s world, it’s just too easy for us to be tempted. As a New York Times article put it, “distracting oneself used to consist of sharpening a half-dozen pencils or lighting a cigarette. Today, there is a universe of diversions to buy, hear, watch and forward, which makes focusing on a task all the more challenging.” (Location 2471)

Tags: attention

Technology may make it easier for us to save time, but it also makes it a whole lot easier for us to waste it. In short, distraction, always just one click away, has become the path of least resistance. (Location 2483)

What if I could eliminate the amount of activation energy it took to get started? (Location 2493)

What I had done here, essentially, was put the desired behavior on the path of least resistance, so it actually took less energy and effort to pick up and practice the guitar than to avoid it. (Location 2497)

Note: Make good habits as easy as possible to do

Lower the activation energy for habits you want to adopt, and raise it for habits you want to avoid. The more we can lower or even eliminate the activation energy for our desired actions, the more we enhance our ability to jump-start positive change. (Location 2500)

pointed out that he still had complete freedom to do what he wanted; just like in an opt-out program, his choice had not been taken away at all. The only thing that had changed was the default, which was now set to productivity, instead of to distraction. (Location 2564)

You may recall how Roy Baumeister’s willpower studies showed that self-control is a limited resource that gets weakened with overuse. Well, these same researchers have discovered that too much choice similarly saps our reserves. Their studies showed that with every additional choice people are asked to make, their physical stamina, ability to perform numerical calculations, persistence in the face of failure, and overall focus drop dramatically. (Location 2572)

Tags: choices, willpower

Note: Too much choice saps our willpower reserves

Yet every one of these innocuous choices depletes our energy a little further, until we just don’t have enough to continue with the positive habit we’re trying to adopt. (Location 2576)

I knew from numerous research studies that exercise in the morning raises your performance on cognitive tasks and gives your brain a “win” to start a cascade effect of positive emotions. (Location 2578)

Tags: brain, exercise

Eliminating the choices and reducing the activation energy made getting up and going to the gym the default mode. As a result, once I ingrained a lifetime positive habit of morning exercise, I now don’t have to sleep in my gym clothes anymore. (Location 2592)

Tags: gym, habits

Note: Reduce the activation energy. Make things obvious and small

In his brilliant book The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz explains how setting rules in advance can free us from the constant barrage of willpower-depleting choices that make a real difference in our lives. (Location 2605)

Tags: toread

Note: Set rules to remove willpower depletion

At work, setting rules to reduce the volume of choice can be incredibly effective. For example, if we set rules to only check our e-mail once per hour, or to only have one coffee break per morning, we are less likely to succumb in the moment, which helps these rules to become habits we stick to by default. (Location 2609)

Tags: habits, choices

Note: Set rules to minimise choice and make habits easier to keep

PRINCIPLE #7 SOCIAL INVESTMENT Why Social Support Is Your Single Greatest Asset (Location 2642)

lesson that is at the heart of Principle 7—that when we encounter an unexpected challenge or threat, the only way to save ourselves is to hold on tight to the people around us and not let go. (Location 2684)

years of evidence that our relationships with other people matter, and matter more than anything else in the world.” (Location 2720)

“like food and air, we seem to need social relationships to thrive.”3 That’s because when we have a community of people we can count on—spouse, family, friends, colleagues—we multiply our emotional, intellectual, and physical resources. (Location 2724)

So in essence, investing in social connections means that you’ll find it easier to interpret adversity as a path to growth and opportunity; and when you do have to experience the stress, you’ll bounce back from it faster and better protected against its long-term negative effects. (Location 2770)

As Michael Lewis writes in the book The Blind Side, Montana played “like a kid who’d been given the answers to the test in advance.”18 After the game, Montana told reporters, “I’d never seen us execute like that… . That’s why it didn’t look tough for us. But it was. Our line was stopping them, and when I got that time, things became easy.” Everyone credited Joe Montana, but he credited his offensive line. Even though most of us live far removed from the football field, we each have our own version of an offensive line: our spouses, our families, and our friends. Surrounded by these people, big challenges feel more manageable and small challenges don’t even register on the radar. Just as the offensive line protects a quarterback from a particularly brutal sack, our social support prevents stress from knocking us down and getting in the way of our achieving our goals. And just as the offensive line helped Montana throw a touchdown that would have been otherwise impossible, our social ties help us capitalize on our own particular strengths—to accomplish more in our work and in our lives. (Location 2797)

The most successful people I’ve worked with know that even in an extraordinarily competitive environment, we are more equipped to handle challenges and obstacles when we pool the resources of those around us and capitalize on even the smallest moments we spend interacting with others. (Location 2838)

Edison actually thrived in group settings, and when he invented the light bulb, he did so with the help of 30 assistants. Edison was actually a social creative, not a lone wolf! And when it comes to society’s most innovative thinkers, so often assumed to be eccentric, solitary geniuses, he was not the exception to the rule. (Location 2859)

Studies have found that the strength of the bond between manager and employee is the prime predictor of both daily productivity and the length of time people stay at their jobs. (Location 2940)

A popular manager at a top 100 law firm once told me that he set out to learn one new thing about a co-worker each day, which he would then reference in later conversations. (Location 2975)

So if you’re in a leadership position in your company (or even if you’re not!), simply introducing two employees who don’t know each other is probably the easiest and fastest way to invest in social dividends. (Location 3003)

As Dutton explains, “many people listen as if waiting for an opportunity to make their own point.” Instead, focus on the speaker and their opinion, and then ask interested questions to learn more. (Location 3029)

Tags: listen

This idea of “managing by walking around” was popularized in the 1980s by leadership expert Tom Peters, who learned about the practice from the leaders of Hewlett–Packard. (Peters even gave it an acronym—MBWA—to signify its importance.) MBWA allows managers to get to know employees, share good news and best practices, hear concerns, offer solutions, and deliver encouragement. (Location 3032)

Note: Walk around to get to know your employees

In fact, studies have shown that gratitude sparks an upward spiral of relationship growth where each individual feels motivated to strengthen the bond.49 It also predicts feelings of integration and cooperation within a larger group, which means that the more gratitude one employee expresses toward another employee, the more social cohesion they feel among the whole team. In other words, gratitude can fuel your own identity as a “glue guy.” (Location 3046)

In fact, studies have shown that when three strangers meet in a room, the most emotionally expressive person transmits his or her mood to the others within just two minutes. (Location 3164)

hand. So just one positive team member—one person using the Happiness Advantage—can affect both the individual attitudes and performance of those around him, as well as the dynamic and accomplishments of the group as a whole. (Location 3195)

Studies show that rapport strengthens between two people when they lock eyes, proving that the old business wisdom about always looking people in the eye is actually scientifically sound advice. (Location 3214)