Big Potential: How Transforming the Pursuit of Success Raises Our Achievement, Happiness, and Well-Being
Shawn Achor, an American author, and speaker known for his advocacy of positive psychology. He is the NY Times bestselling author of the happiness advantage and big potential. In Big potential Achor is teaching us how to really find our big potential and what that means.
Society teaches us that it is better to be only bright light than be in a forest of bright lights (Achor 2018, 17). We want to graduate at the top of our class, get the job at the best company, and be chosen to work on the most coveted project. We also want our children to be the smartest kids at school, the most popular or the fastest. (Achor 2018, 17).
Achor (2018, 19) is telling that our society has become overly focused on the “power of one” instead “the power of one made stronger by others.” And the power of one made stronger by others seems to be the future and the main actor of releasing our potential.
Small and big potential
Achor is comparing (2018, 24) small potential and pig potential. Small potential is the limited success you can achieve alone and the big potential is the success you can achieve only in a virtuous cycle with others. We need to interact and support each other rather than only think how we can go far alone or how we can be the best or the fastest.
Achor (2018, 59) gives smart and simple advice when he tell us to surround ourselves with positive influencers. The height of our potential is predicted by the people who surround us. So, the key to creating a super bounce for your potential is to surround yourself with people who will lift you up rather than drag you down. (Achor 2018, 63).
Achor (2018, 63) is using the image of trampoline. When jumping on a trampoline alone, you can only jump so high but if you convince someone to jump next to you and your timing is right, it turns you both up much higher.
The people around us matter a lot. We can’t choose our family and we don’t have the chance to pick all the people we work with, but we can strategically choose to surround ourselves with people who will give us a super bounce rather than knock us down. (Achor 2018, 68)
Defense against negative influence
We can also make our defense against negative influence more than just selecting people around us. Our own mindset is the key for optimism which will lead us far.
Achor (2018, 160) is telling that when he is feeling frustrated or down, he tries to think of three good things that have happened to him over the past twenty-four hours.
New research shows that you can help others be more productive by getting them to reflect on the good things going on in their life, like Achor does with himself also. In one creative experiment, researchers J. Chancellor from the University of Cambridge and K. Layous and S. Lyubomirsky from UC Riverside conducted a six-week study at a company in Japan. There employees wore special sociometric name badges measuring their interactions and activities. It turned out that the employees who where randomly assigned to recount three positive events each week not only demonstrated higher levels of happiness after six weeks, they actually had significantly more energy, and got their various task done faster. So simply getting people to focus their brain for just few minutes a week on the positive things, they get more done and were more invigorated. (Achor 2018, 161).
Shine bright like a diamond
In the same way, when we help others come better, we can actually increase the available opportunities. Once we learn to coordinate and collaborate with those around us, we all begin to shine brighter. (Achor 2018, 17). We can now believe that the immortal saying is true – if you want to go fast, go alone but if you want to go far, go together.
Now we can also believe that our big potential is there, somewhere hiding at least. We just need to relent with our scheme of thoughts and we need to focus on grinding diamonds from each other.
The turning point for Achor (2018, 61) was that when he changed his mindset from “I can do it all by myself” to “I need others.”
Now is our time to challenge our mindset and questioned that how we think. If we believe in Shawn Actor, we could think that now it is the time to admit that we need each other so we can really find our hidden potential, big potential. Now it is the time to us to make the super bounces and achieve virtuous cycle.
We spend the first twenty-two years of our life being judged and praised for our individual attributes and what we can achieve alone even for the rest of our life, our success is almost entirely interconnected with others. (Achor 2018, 21). We see that as a precious thought because in the end, it is our decision how we act, think and how our mindset is like. We can change the way of thinking only individual, only me, to be more about the community and doing together.
Achor S. 2018. Big Potential: How transforming the pursuit of success raises our achievement, happiness, and well-being. New York: Currency.
- Shawn Achor. Website. Read 14.10.2019.