The Moving Goalposts of Success

The absence of disease is not health. Here's how we get to health: We need to reverse the formula for happiness and success. In the last three years, I've traveled to 45 different countries, working with schools and companies in the midst of an economic downturn. And what I found is that most companies and schools follow a formula for success, which is this: If I work harder, I'll be more successful. And if I'm more successful, then I'll be happier. That undergirds most of our parenting styles, our managing styles, the way that we motivate our behavior.

And the problem is it's scientifically broken and backwards for two reasons. First, every time your brain has a success, you just changed the goalpost of what success looked like. You got good grades, now you have to get better grades, you got into a good school and after you get into a better school, you got a good job, now you have to get a better job, you hit your sales target, we're going to change your sales target. And if happiness is on the opposite side of success, your brain never gets there. What we've done is we've pushed happiness over the cognitive horizon as a society. And that's because we think we have to be successful, then we'll be happier.

But the real problem is our brains work in the opposite order. If you can raise somebody's level of positivity in the present, then their brain experiences what we now call a happiness advantage, which is your brain at positive performs significantly better than it does at negative, neutral or stressed. Your intelligence rises, your creativity rises, your energy levels rise. In fact, what we've found is that every single business outcome improves. Your brain at positive is 31 percent more productive than your brain at negative, neutral or stressed. You're 37 percent better at sales. Doctors are 19 percent faster, more accurate at coming up with the correct diagnosis when positive instead of negative, neutral or stressed. Which means we can reverse the formula. If we can find a way of becoming positive in the present, then our brains work even more successfully as we're able to work harder, faster and more intelligently.


Folksonomies: happiness success

/business and industrial (0.625825)
/family and parenting (0.446731)
/hobbies and interests/games/board games and puzzles (0.438617)

single business outcome (0.911548 (positive:0.533644)), sales target (0.899809 (positive:0.285758)), success (0.808680 (negative:-0.179133)), brain (0.758926 (positive:0.053318)), happiness (0.742977 (positive:0.548799)), Moving Goalposts (0.741596 (negative:-0.617747)), economic downturn (0.736894 (negative:-0.624982)), different countries (0.706488 (neutral:0.000000)), Success The absence (0.699515 (negative:-0.617747)), happiness advantage (0.688227 (positive:0.489964)), opposite order (0.662230 (negative:-0.727184)), parenting styles (0.654429 (neutral:0.000000)), cognitive horizon (0.653646 (positive:0.648708)), correct diagnosis (0.646908 (neutral:0.000000)), energy levels (0.638165 (neutral:0.000000)), real problem (0.630133 (negative:-0.727184)), good grades (0.627555 (positive:0.394908)), better grades (0.625652 (positive:0.322046)), good school (0.621199 (positive:0.439668)), good job (0.620071 (positive:0.592636)), better school (0.619312 (positive:0.439668)), better job (0.618108 (positive:0.451489)), positive performs (0.617979 (neutral:0.000000)), formula (0.592473 (positive:0.563281)), percent (0.564994 (positive:0.312972)), brains (0.472779 (negative:-0.522483)), health (0.451687 (positive:0.061056)), way (0.446863 (positive:0.281985)), schools (0.444961 (negative:-0.141479)), companies (0.444959 (negative:-0.141479))

sales target:FieldTerminology (0.801254 (positive:0.285758)), economic downturn:FieldTerminology (0.622375 (negative:-0.624982)), energy levels:FieldTerminology (0.508720 (neutral:0.000000)), three years:Quantity (0.508720 (neutral:0.000000)), 19 percent:Quantity (0.508720 (neutral:0.000000)), 31 percent:Quantity (0.508720 (neutral:0.000000)), 37 percent:Quantity (0.508720 (neutral:0.000000))

Psychology (0.934474): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Cognition (0.856720): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Positive psychology (0.844484): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Brain (0.791934): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Inflation (0.784007): dbpedia | freebase
Addition (0.777139): dbpedia | freebase
Science (0.776790): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Success (0.747451): dbpedia

 The happy secret to better work
Audiovisual Media>Live Performance:  Achor, Shawn (May 2011), The happy secret to better work, Retrieved on 2014-12-20
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: happiness