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What Makes A Positive Mindset With Shawn Achor

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Shawn Achor (Twitter | Website) is a writer and happiness researcher. He’s worked with the NBA, Google, and Facebook to help create happier and more motivational work environments. In this episode, Chad and Shawn discuss the motivations behind Shawn’s research, his tips for a better mindset, and why happiness is a team sport.

This is the first episode of our mindset week! We’re devoting the next five days to helping you develop a more positive and productive mindset for your day-to-day life.

Questions, comments, or suggestions? Drop us a line on the socials @TheMissionHQ.

[2:00] What Is A Happiness Researcher?

  • Throughout his career, Shawn has been studying what creates happiness and, in some cases, what causes people to be unhappy.
  • His studies have taken him from Harvard Divinity School (where he was initially inspired to start his research) to working with Google and Facebook.

[5:30] Genetics May Influence Your Outlook On Life, But You Can Fight Back

  • Shawn acknowledges that genes and biology heavily influence your outlook on the world (and thus your happiness). But he adds that you can fight back against genetics.
  • Small positive habit changes can have dramatic impacts on how you view the world.
    • “If you do those positive habits, it breaks the tyranny of genes and environment over your levels of happiness.”
  • Try to find three things every day you’re grateful for and it can dramatically affect your outlook.

[12:00] Happiness Is About Other People

  • Having a friend that can support you makes climbing a mountain much more achievable.
  • Shawn frames it with the idea of the “survival of the best fit.” By working together as a group, each individual’s success and happiness is increased dramatically.

[19:30] Use The Military As A Framework For How To Build A Team

  • The military encourages reliance on one another and this creates a more supportive (and therefore happier) environment.
  • When you’re recruited into the military, you’re not sent on a Caribbean cruise to help build camaraderie, you’re dropped into boot camp – an incredibly stressful environment which is renowned for being tough and difficult to get through. Despite this, recruits forge incredibly strong bonds with each other that, in the long run, lead to better relationships.

[32:40] Count Your Blessings

  • No, seriously. Count your blessings. Every day, take a few minutes to think about what you’re really grateful for. Then, write those down and throw them in a jar. When you’re struggling or enduring darkness, pull a gratitude from the jar to help you re-center and remember all the amazing things in your life.

[34:00] Get Away From Your Phone

  • Social media is anathema to building real social connections. The connections you build in real life are the ones that will provide actual joy in your life and be there to offer you love and support when you most need it.
  • Cutting off social media isn’t necessarily the right answer, but limiting your exposure to it will help you bolster your real-world connections.

[38:40] Take Sixty Minutes A Day To Reflect

  • Take the first thirty minutes of the day and the last thirty minutes of the day to practice gratitude and reflection. Then check your social media. That 30 minutes of reflection will work as a wall to protect yourself from the onslaught of negativity that social media can contain.

[42:00] The Lightning Round

To learn more about Shawn and his work check out his website or follow him on Twitter.

His books are Big Potential: Transforming the Pursuit of Success Raises Our Achievement, Happiness, and Well-BeingThe Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life, and Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness, and Sustaining Positive Change.


Episode 4