By turning the notion of ‘success’ upside down, Shawn Achor shares a number of colourful insights which very much adhere to embracing failure though he never explicitly says as much. His masterful TED lecture ‘The Happiness Advantage’ is one of the best of the myriad of gems in the TED series (thanks Isley). Anytime knocking your sister off a bunk bed breaking her leg can be turned into a ‘good’ thing, is pretty crafty turning adversity to advantage (not to mention a hilarious tale).

His moral of his colourful stories is that ‘We think that we have to be successful, then we will be happier, but the real problem is that our brains work in the opposite order.’ They echo a lot of material from Dan Gilbert’s own TED presentation on Impact Bias and how we can ‘synthesize happiness’…

  • It is not necessarily the reality that shapes us, but the lens through which the your brain views the world that shapes reality90% of your happiness is not determined by your external world, but by how your brain processes the external world…75% of job successes are predicted by your optimism levels, your social support, and your ability to see stresses as a challenge instead of threat.”

The theme reminds me of a romantic line in the movie ‘Loch Ness’, “’I have to see it before I can believe it’…’No, Mr. Dempsey, you have to believe it before you can see it.’”

To inspire this happiness Achor offers his own mantra to turning adversity to the ‘Happiness Advantage’…“Be positive in the present.”