The Happiness Advantage

December 13, 2017

The Secret to a Happier, More Enjoyable, and More Successful Work Life.

We’ve heard them all before, “money can’t buy happiness,” or “if you love what you’re doing, you’ll never work a day in your life.” It is safe to say that life is never really that simple though, is it? In Early Childhood Education, no matter how much you pour into your work, there will always be stress that comes with it. What if were a way to overcome the negativity and stress? Perhaps we can learn to focus on the joys of our work…

Positive Psychology

In his book, The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor shares seven principles of Positive Psychology. These can fuel success and performance at work and also shares several different research studies that demonstrate the power of having a positive mindset. He also discusses rewiring your brain from the mindset that if we have success, we will be happy. Understanding that happiness breeds success is often the first step to changing your point of view.

Positive Psychology is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives. It looks to encourage what is best within ourselves. The most impactful piece may be the increase in experiences of love, work, and play. In short, Positive Psychology is putting the positives in your life on the top of your priority list, and letting all other things fall into place after. When you do this, you allow yourself to focus in on the positives and give yourself a chance at responding to the negatives.

The Happiness Advantage in Early Childhood Education

Shawn Achor states, “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” This quote carries a lot of weight with how we view the work in early childhood. In this field of education, we are preparing the youngest children to be the leaders of our future. It is in this work that we are supporting families and children to feel safe, secure, and positive the future. What’s not to love about that?

Not only does this approach leave people happier, but it also has been shown to increase productivity, “…Only 25% of job successes are predicted by IQ, 75 percent of job successes are predicted by your optimism levels, your social support, and your ability to see stress as a challenge instead of as a threat.” It doesn’t take a psychologist to understand that being more optimistic, having good relationships and support, and seeing the opportunities that lie in challenges can take your work-life from monotonous to stimulating and fulfilling.

“It’s not reality that shapes us, but the lens through which [our] brain views the world that shapes [our] reality,” Achor continues, “And if we can change the lens, not only can we change [our] happiness, we can change every single educational and business outcome at the same time.”

If you are interested in changing your mindset, this book should be on your reading list. Not only will it change your outlook, but it well help you improve the work you are doing with our most important generation. No time to read the book? Take a look at this Ted Talk. It’s right around 12 minutes long. Time to read the book? You should still check out the video!

From TEDxBloomington:

The Happiness Advantage:  Research Linking Happiness and Success

“We believe we should work hard in order to be happy, but could we be thinking about things backwards? In this fast-moving and very funny talk, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that, actually, happiness inspires us to be more productive.”

Deb Winkelmann
Director of Quality Practice Transformation
Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative