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The Happiness Advantage

Shawn Achor’s authored a book called “The Happiness Advantage the Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work.” He discusses an original idea, and one I’ve never even heard about called post traumatic growth. The term post traumatic growth is a relatively new term and is defined as the experience of positive change that occurs as the result of the struggle and highly challenging life crises. The benefits are endless and among them are an increased sense of personal strength, changed priorities, and a richer existential and spiritual life.

I love the basis of his book and in it he mentions the research principle called “falling up.” “There are a group of individuals called “positive outliers” – who possess high optimism and success – and manage to gain growth not despite a trauma, but because of it,” he writes.

Shawn challenges his readers to try this brief positive psychology experiment:

Take out a sheet of paper, and jot down three of the greatest moments of growth in your life.

It didn’t take me long to come up with getting laid off, going back to school very late in life, and a car accident.

Shawn does public speaking engagements in 45 countries worldwide. The results to this exercise shows 90% of the responses were about highly stressful periods of change. They include going to college, studying abroad, playing in the finals, quitting one job to find a better one, the birth of a child, and even depression. The greatest moments of growth are experienced due to stress and change.

For me, getting laid off, going back to school, and a car accident, were traumatic, but it is not the end of the story. After I encountered this chain of events I thought “What now?”

There is actually a wealth of research on individuals who experienced growth after the worst traumas you can imagine: heart attack, breast cancer, and military combat. But this can actually be the catalyst for change. It has actually prompted many individuals to get their priorities in line. We all know people who have done this, and it’s been nothing short of remarkable to witness their progress. Some have been and continue to be a great inspiration to me. In my case, the loss of a job lead to a change of career and one that actually aligns with my core vision and values. Shawn believes that if you have experienced a trauma, find one concrete action – something you know you can do – to decrease the negative feelings associated with the trauma.

On September 11th 2001, singer Patti Austin had a ticket booked on an internal flight in the U.S. but had to cancel her trip due to recording commitments. The flight was subsequently hijacked by terrorists and was crashed killing all on board, it was on route to targeting the White House. She thought if she’d been on that flight then that would have been it, and as someone who’s spiritual she realized God must have had bigger plans for her life. She changed her attitude and realized that she had to make the best of what she had now by addressing health issues that had plagued her most of her life. So she made it her focus to lose 40 lbs. by having bypass surgery. This gave her brain a “win,” allowing her to keep moving forward.

What gets in the way of us creating positive change in our lives? We are afraid of change, and some have become complacent. When you change your mindset you change your habits. The key to growth came when I saw the optimistic version as opposed to the pessimistic version of what really happened in these events.

We were taught the formula for success at a young age. If we work hard we will be more successful, and if we are more successful, then we will be happy. If this was true then if we can just find that great opportunity, win that next promotion, lose those ten pounds, then happiness will follow. We all know this just isn’t the case. Does happiness fuel success? No, that concept is completely backward. When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive at work and in life. And rigorous research in psychology and neuroscience, management studies, and the bottom lines of organizations around the globe proves it.

Having trauma in our life is not always pleasant – but it’s the beginning of the story, and doesn’t have to be the end. Those who thrive maintain a belief that their behavior still matters and that growth is still possible.

Source by Kathy Batz

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Sanjay Tatwawadi
Sanjay , allthough an engineer by profession has varied interests in sales, marketing, sports, science and spiritualism. He coaches and specialises in training the new generation for betterment in life. A Rotarian to the core, he has excelled in adding value added program for enrichment of society at large Having lead the team to different countries in vocational and cultural exchange programs. An avid cyclist and badminton player, he is passionate in writing and promoting good reading habits in youngsters.
Sanjay Tatwawadi

Latest posts by Sanjay Tatwawadi (see all)

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