This is an ideal Clown employment sales pitch.
Shawn Achor is the winner of over a dozen distinguished teaching awards at Harvard University, where he delivered lectures on positive psychology in the most popular class at Harvard.
His research and lectures on happiness and human potential have received attention in The New York Times, Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, as well as on NPR and CNN Radio, and he travels around the United States and Europe giving talks on positive psychology to Fortune 500 corporations, schools, and non-profit organizations.
Achor graduated magna cum laude from Harvard with a BA in English and Religion and earned a Masters degree from Harvard Divinity School in Christian and Buddhist ethics.
Now he is the CEO of Aspirant, a Cambridge-based consulting firm which researches positive outliers-people who are well above average-to understand where human potential, success and happiness intersect. Based on his research and 12 years of experience at Harvard, he clearly and humorously describes to organizations how to increase happiness and meaning, raise success rates and profitability, and create positive transformations that ripple into more successful cultures.
In Shawn's TEDxBloomington presentation, he says that most modern research focuses on the average, but that "if we focus on the average, we will remain merely average." He wants to study the positive outliers, and learn how not only to bring people up to the average, but to move the entire average up.
"So how can we pursue happiness right now?
When I was counseling overwrought Harvard students, one of the first things I would tell them is to stop equating a future success with happiness. Empirically, we know success does not lead to happiness. Is everyone with a job happy? Is every rich person happy? Then step one is to stop thinking that finding a job, getting a promotion, etc. is the only thing that can brings happiness. Success does not mean happiness. Check out any celebrity magazine to look for examples to disabuse you of thinking that being beautiful, successful or rich will make you happy.
Second, realize that happiness is a work ethic. Happiness is not a mystery. You have to train your brain to be positive just like you work out your body. We not only need to work happy, we need to work at being happy. Try an experiment right now called the 21 Day Challenge. Pick one of the five researched habits and try it out for 21 days in a row to create a positive habit.
1. Write down three new things you are grateful for each day into a blank word document. Research shows this will significantly improve your optimism even 6 months later, and raises your success rates significantly.
2. Write for 2 minutes a day describing one positive experience you had over the past 24 hours. This is a strategy to help transform you from a task-based thinker, to a meaning based thinker who scans the world for meaning instead of endless to-dos. This dramatically increases work happiness.
3. Exercise for 10 minutes a day. This trains your brain to believe your behavior matters, which causes a cascade of success throughout the rest of the day.
4. Meditate for 2 minutes, focusing on your breath going in and out. This will help you undo the negative effects of multitasking. Research shows you get multiple tasks done faster if you do them one at a time. It also decreases stress and raises happiness.
5. Write one, quick email first thing in the morning thanking or praising a member on your team. This significantly increases your feeling of social support, which in my study at Harvard was the largest predictor of happiness for the students."