Shawn Achor (@shawnachor) is one of the world’s leading experts on the connection between happiness and success, and is the author of Big Potential, The Happiness Advantage, and Before Happiness.

What We Discuss with Shawn Achor:

  • Positive Peer Pressure: having great people around you can help make you great (and is an even better predictor of success than qualities like grit and resilience).
  • Why you actually achieve and perform better when you help others operate at their best.
  • Powerful skills that allow you to make others better — and therefore raise your own potential.
  • How success in personal and professional life really isn’t survival of the fittest — it’s survival of the best fit.
  • Practical insight into how you can protect yourself against stress and negativity.
  • And much more…

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Big Potential: How Transforming the Pursuit of Success Raises Our Achievement, Happiness, and Well-Being by Shawn AchorEntrepreneur Jim Rohn famously said that you’re the average of the five people with whom you spend the most time, so it stands to reason that surrounding yourself with high quality people will result in your own elevation by osmosis — and this is a theme we frequently drive home here on the show.

But also consider this: according to Big Potential and The Happiness Advantage author Shawn Achor, you also achieve and perform better when you help others operate at their best. On this episode, Shawn shares insights that will allow you to reconcile your own happiness with success and build up others in the process. Listen, learn, and enjoy!

Please Scroll down for Full Show Notes and Featured Resources!

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More About This Show

It’s long been said that it’s lonely at the top. But ask an American immersed in corporate culture what success looks like, and chances are they’ll point to whoever’s occupying that lonesome pinnacle with a mix of envy and respect.

The mythology persists that, alone, this ruthless apex predator carved his or her chair at the head of the table from the bones of fallen, lesser foes. This is the ultimate achievement, existing to measure against itself — any resulting happiness merely a lapse in composure rather than a feeling to be pursued.

But Shawn Achor, bestselling author of Big Potential, The Happiness Advantage, and Before Happiness, would disagree.

“The more we started doing this research and the more I got exposed to companies and schools and then having kids, I realized the majority of our potential — not only for happiness, but everything — was actually interconnected with that entire ecosystem of potential around us: the people who are surrounding us,” he says. “When I ignored that in the pursuit of happiness, I was missing out on not only the greatest fuel, but the meaning for why I was doing it in the first place.”

In other words, we’re more likely to excel and reach the heights of success by accepting the uplifting help of others and, in turn, reciprocating the assistance. It doesn’t have to be lonely and miserable at the top — in fact, it’s more likely to be a little crowded and celebratory, like a party attended by dozens of your closest friends.

Listen to this episode in its entirety to learn more about how Shawn went from depressed overachiever to jubilant happiness researcher, the changes possible despite what genes and environment are trying to tell you, what the humble lightning bug can teach us about the multiplying power of cooperation, why social cohesion of a team is more predictive of its success than the skills of its individuals, gaming collaboration to succeed in a society geared for competition, why you should always describe your work in a way that excites others and excites you, and much more.


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