3 Takeaways from The Happiness Advantage

I recently read a book summary that shifted my perspective and challenged me to optimize the way I see my contribution to the world.

The book summarized was “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor. The summary was written by Sam Davies, who has a ton of other incredible book summaries here on his website. If you don’t have time to read the book, his summary is very comprehensive. On the other hand, if you’re short on time, my summary of the top 3 principles that I am applying to my life is a great place to start! 

Principle #1: Happiness Creates Success

The first main point that challenged my perspective was the assertion that success does not beget happiness, happiness begets success. In other words, we have all been taught that once we are successful, we will be happy. However, in reality, what is more likely to happen is that once we are happy in life, we will naturally attract more success. Our happiness will overflow from us and impact the people we do business with, the energy will call forward more people who want to do business with us, and our brains – once keyed into a positive mindset – will seek improved solutions and outcomes that are in resonance with our joy and positive outlook. 

The Happiness Advantage

Principle #2: The People in Your Life Affect Your Health, Hustle, and Happiness

The next mindset-changing philosophy was the power of having good people around you. Though the idea is not new, the way it was broken down in the summary offered additional clarity. It noted that social relationships are “both an antidote for depression and a prescription for high performance.” Apparently, just spending a few minutes with a high-energy or high-achieving person can have a positive impact on our own output. Moreover, when we are feeling low energy or sad, we often want to isolate ourselves, but we would be better off reaching out to people who love us and can lift us up by just being in our presence.

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Principle #3: Work to make a Calling, not a Career

The final point that shifted my perspective was how they delineated how we can view our work. Some people view the work they do as a job, something that pays them, but that they don’t feel connected to or excited about. It is a means to an end. Other people see their work as a part of a career. Their aim is to advance to higher degrees of success. They work to gain more skills, more money, and more influence within their industry. They want to do well because it will serve them in the long run. Finally, there is a third route that is even better than a job or a career, and that is a Calling. A calling is something that has more inherent rewards than just a paycheck. These individuals feel as though they are contributing or participating in something positive that aligns with their beliefs or goals for the world. They are not just in it for the money or the success, they are in it for how they see the role as bringing something better into the world. 

These three principles from “The Happiness Advantage” inspired me to: 

  • Find more joy in my daily life
  • Appreciate my friends and family even more than I do
  • Align my work with something I believe in, so that I can feel it is part of my Calling and not just a job or Career.

There were many excellent points in Shawn Davies’ summary of “The Happiness Advantage.” I encourage you to read the summary (or even the book) for yourself and see how you can positively shift your mindset to bring you more happiness out of life. 

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Kema Hodge


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