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The Happiness Work Ethic

Shawn Achor

January 19, 2011

"The single greatest competitive advantage in the modern economy is a positive and engaged workforce. That is not conjecture. That is now a confirmed scientific fact. [...] In my research and consulting in 42 different countries during the worst economic downturn in recent history, I have discovered that most companies and schools around the world follow the same implicit formula: If you work hard, you will become successful, and once you become successful, then you'll be happy. This pattern of belief explains what most often motivates us in life. We think: If I just get that raise, or hit that next sales target, I'll be happy. If I can just get that next good grade, I'll be happy. If I lose that five pounds, I'll be happy. And so on. Success first, happiness second. The only problem is that this formula is scientifically backwards."

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