Positive Psychology Expert
Shawn Achor is the New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Advantage and Before Happiness. He spent 12 years at Harvard, where he won over a dozen distinguished teaching awards, and delivered lectures on positive psychology in the most popular class at Harvard.
Shawn graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and earned a Masters from Harvard Divinity School in Christian and Buddhist ethics. Shawn has since become one of the world’s leading experts on the connection between happiness and success. Shawn has now worked with over a third of the Fortune 100 companies, and with places like the NFL, the Pentagon and the U.S. Treasury. To do his work, Shawn has traveled to 51 countries, speaking to farmers in Zimbabwe, CEOs in China, doctors in Dubai and schoolchildren in South Africa. In 2014, Oprah Winfrey did a two hour interview with Shawn on the science of happiness and meaning. His research on happiness made the cover of Harvard Business Review, his TED talk is one of the most popular of all time with over 14 million views, and his lecture airing on PBS has been seen by millions.
THE HAPPINESS ADVANTAGE: Linking Positive Brains to Performance
Most business is done under the guideline that: if you work harder, you will be more successful, and then you will be happy. This formula is scientifically backward. What over a decade of research shows is that training your brain to be positive first actually leads to greater success at work. In fact, only 25% of job success is predicted by intelligence, the rest is determined by your optimism, social support network and the ability to manage energy and stress in a positive way. Based on Shawn’s book,The Happiness Advantage (2010) and research studying top performers at Harvard, the world’s largest banks and Fortune 500 companies, Shawn explains what positive psychology is, how much we can change, and practical applications and strategies for reaping the Happiness Advantage in the midst of change and challenge.
THE RIPPLE EFFECT: How to Make Positive Change Easier
Common sense is not common action. This is because awareness does not necessarily equal transformation because we require a certain level of “activation energy” to start a change. Shawn’s research in the field of positive psychology reveals how small shifts in our mindset and behavior can ripple out to a team and even an entire organization. Audiences will learn about the latest scientific research on mirror neurons and mental priming to explain how positivity and negativity spread, case studies on how to become a lightning rod for change, and findings on how a positive ripple effect profoundly affects an organization’s ability to transition and change.
RETHINKING THE FORMULA FOR SUCCESS: The Power of Positive Education
At schools and companies alike, we often are taught: “If I work harder, then I will be successful, and then I will be happy.” This formula is scientifically backwards. Shawn explains how when we flip the formula, and focus on being positive first, we raise nearly every educational and business outcome. By demonstrating how happiness is a choice, we can help students not only cultivate positive habits and mindsets, but achieve higher levels of success as a result. Based on Shawn’s study of 1600 Harvard students, his seven years as a Freshmen Proctor, and his subsequent work at schools and companies in over 50 countries, Shawn uses the latest research, interactive experiments, and humorous stories, to show how simple changes to our mindset and habits can bring this research to life and create happiness and success for our schools and for ourselves.
POSITIVE GENIUS: The Key to Raising Success, Spreading Happiness & Sustaining Positive Change
Why are some people able to make great changes, while others stay the same? Based on the research in Before Happiness (2013) and cutting edge of positive psychology and neuroscience, Shawn takes us to the beginning of human potential. Each of us has a picture of reality, and this mental picture determines our likelihood of success and our ability to harness our brain’s IQ, emotional and social intelligence. Using his signature humor, new case studies and interactive experiments that engage the audience, Shawn clearly demonstrate how each of us can become a “positive genius,” someone who can continually use true facts to see the most helpful and positive reality and then share this reality with others. In this program, participants will learn how to harness the latest research on managing stress that Shawn did with Yale University, how to navigate multiple realities at work, cancel internal and external noise, add vantage points to planning, use success accelerants to speed goal completion and use meaning markers to spread positive genius throughout a team, family and an entire organization.
POSITIVE LEADERSHIP: Restoring a Culture of Confidence
Confidence, trust and job satisfaction are at historic lows. When the economic collapse began, the world’s largest banks called in Shawn Achor to research how to restore confidence and forward progress. While many managers succumb to helplessness, with their teams and clients quickly following suit, Shawn researched those who maintained high levels of success and leadership during the challenge. He found that our brains create confidence based on the belief that our behavior matters to the outcome we desire. To develop this trust, we must create "wins" for our brain necessary to overcome learned helplessness and must train our brains for rational optimism. Based on the science of positive psychology and case studies of working with companies in the midst of an economic collapse, Shawn provides practical applications for raising the belief that individual behavior matters and helping leaders to keep teams motivated and engaged.
BIG POTENTIAL: How Transforming the Pursuit of Success Raises Our Achievement, Happiness, and Well-Being
Until now, we've been taught that to be successful, we must better ourselves and rise above others. The pursuit of fulfilling our potential has been individual and isolated. Research now clearly shows that this self-focused approach to achievement puts a cap on our happiness and success. It is only by pursuing potential in an interconnected way that we are able to achieve the heights of our potential in business and education. Only by making others better as we grow, can we see what we are truly capable of. Based on Shawn’s research, new findings using Big Data revealing the ripple effect of our actions, and his work in 50 countries, he outlines a five stage strategy for achieving interconnected success and how to apply them to your work and home life for greater energy, productivity, and success.
“Our expectations for Shawn’s talk at our recent H.R. Conference was quite high, given what I had seen of his “TED” talk and having read much of The Happiness Advantage – and all those expectations were exceeded! While I knew the content would be powerful and anticipated the delivery would be engaging, I underestimated the positive impact it would have on the audience beyond the conference. The attendees have been quite energized and have begun taking actions to be happier and more grateful in their own lives. Further, while the learning will be applicable at our workplace, I think the attendees felt the impact was transferable to all aspects of their lives (and their families).”
The Wendy’s Company
“We have used Shawn globally to deliver workshops for our Managing Director and Executive Director audiences (both individuals and intact teams); as an estimate he has presented to close to 1000 people at this level at UBS. We are pretty selective about whom we would put in front of this level of audience but Shawn never disappoints. The feedback from the seminars he has run for us is amongst the best across any of the training courses we deliver (from memory over 95 per cent of this audience would recommend the training to peers). Shawn has partnered exceptionally well with UBS to tailor his materials and research to our needs. He is always open to feedback and ideas.”
“Shawn Achor is a talented and engaging speaker. He has the ability to reach his audience through a unique combination of humor and real life experiences intertwined with results from his extensive research on happiness that brings credibility and validity to his message, which should resonate with any individual or company that values continuous improvement and strives for peak performance. I highly recommend Shawn Achor as both a speaker and an author. I am happier as a result of Shawn’s positive influence on my life and family.”
Corning Credit Union
“Shawn’s presentation on happiness was absolutely amazing! Funny, engaging, smart, optimistic, and practical, Shawn inspired us to shift the way that we look at the world, and to make simple yet powerful changes in our own lives. His uplifting message had a positive impact on those who attended – the feedback we’ve received has been extraordinary, and people are still talking about his presentation!”
Goodwin Procter LLP
“Shawn Achor brings the science, research, and factual data behind why happiness happens and teaches how to reproduce happiness. Shawn will bring a new perspective on happiness by presenting a new lens that eliminates traditional “normal” worldly view on why we are happy, in exchange for a scientific, fact based, process any person can use to create real happiness in their own life.”