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The Happy Secret to Better Work

TED Talk by Shawn Achor

Vivian Xiao

on 21 February 2013

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Transcript of The Happy Secret to Better Work

When I was seven and my little sister was just five, we were playing war on the bunk bed. I put out all my soldiers, and on the other side were all my sister's My Little Ponies ready for cavalry charge. Suddenly, without any push from me at all, Amy disappeared over the side of the bed and landed with a crash on the floor. I nervously peered over the side of the bed to see what had befallen my fallen sister and saw she landed on all fours on the ground. I said, "Amy, wait. Don't cry. Did you see how you landed? No human lands on all fours like that. Amy, I think this means you're a unicorn!" Instead of walking to my parents with all the negative consequences that would have ensued for me, a smile spread across her face at contemplating her new-found identity as a unicorn. What I had stumbled across at this tender age was going to be the vanguard of a scientific revolution in the way we look at the human brain. The very first thing I want to do is start my talk with a graph. There's a very clear trend going on. The fact that there's one weird red dot that's above the curve, that's no problem, because I can just delete that dot. The very first things we teach people in economics, statistics, business and psychology courses is how we eliminate the weirdos to find the line of best fit. But if we study what is merely average, we will remain merely average. What I want to know, is why are some people so high above the curve in intellectual ability, athletic ability, or creativity? Maybe we can glean information from the outliers. Not just how to move people up to the average, but move the entire average up in our companies and schools worldwide. When I read the news, the majority of information is negative, and the brain starts to think that it's an accurate ratio of negative to positive in the world. That's creating a medical school syndrome, when during the first year of medical training, you read through a list of all the symptoms and diseases that could happen, and suddenly you realize you have all of them. It's not necessarily the reality that shapes us, but the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality. And if we can change the lens, we can change your happiness and every single educational and business outcome. I applied to Harvard on a dare. I didn't expect to get in, and my family had no money for college. When I got a military scholarship, suddenly, something that wasn't even a possibility became a reality. When I went there, I felt so excited and privileged, and I assumed everyone else would be happy to be there too. But I found that not all the students were happy. They were focused on the competition, workload, stresses, and complaints. Most companies and school follow a formula for success, which is this: Work Harder Successful Happiness If I I'll be more Which will
lead to And the problem is, every time your brain has a success, you change the goalpost of what success looks like. Good Grades You get Better Grades Now you have to get You get a Good Job Now you have to get a Better Job If happiness is on the opposite side of success, your brain never gets there. We stumbled across
Positive Psychology. Success Happiness However, if you can raise someone's level of positivity, then their brain experiences a happiness advantage. Your brain performs significantly better than it does at negative, neutral or stressed. We can then reverse the formula HAPPINESS SUCCESS lead to There are ways to train your brain to become more positive. Meditation Allows your brain to focus on the task at hand. Random Acts
of Kindness create and spread happiness for all Writing About a
Positive Experience allows your brain to relive it Exercise boosts your brain's
productivity and let And that's TED Talk by Shawn Achor
Drawing and design by Vivian Xiao The Happy Secret to
Better Work If you liked this Prezi, please vote! http://promoshq.wildfireapp.com/website/6/contests/312640/voteable_entries/65183030
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