You Are in Control of Your Happiness

UPDATED: May 27, 2024
PUBLISHED: September 29, 2017

Happiness is not the belief that we don’t need to change; it is the realization that we can.

Related: What Happy, Successful, Optimistic People Know About Life

Through two decades of research and testing, I created what I call the Seven Principles that predict success and achievement: The Happiness Advantage, The Fulcrum and the Lever, The Tetris Effect, Falling Up, The Zorro Circle, The 20-Second Rule and Social Investment. These principles are a set of tools that anyone, no matter their profession or calling, can use to achieve more every day. They don’t work only in a business setting. They can help you overcome obstacles, reverse bad habits, become more efficient and productive, make the most of opportunities and conquer your most ambitious goals. In essence, they are seven techniques you can use to achieve more every day.

Here is what they will not do. They will not tell you to paint on a happy face, use positive thinking to wish away your problems, or worse, pretend your problems don’t exist. I’m not here to tell you that everything always comes up roses. If there’s anything my research has taught me, it’s that this view is deluded. As I once heard a managing director at a large financial institution complain: “It’s 1 p.m., and six times today I have heard that, ‘The company has turned the corner.’ If we’ve turned the corner six times, I don’t know where we are.”

These principles start at a different place. They ask us to be realistic about the present while maximizing our potential for the future: It is about learning how to cultivate the mindset and behaviors that have been empirically proved to fuel greater success and fulfillment. It is a work ethic.

Related: 5 Things You Need for a Successful Mindset


This article originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of SUCCESS magazine.

Shawn Achor is a Harvard-trained researcher and best-selling author of The Happiness Advantage and Before Happiness. Get a daily dose of happy at Shawn's Facebook page.