Pulse November 2018 - Page 66

CONVERSATIONS WITH SHAWN ACHOR SHAWN ACHOR, founder of happiness consulting firm goodThink, is one of the world’s leading experts in the science of happiness and positive psychology. A former faculty member at Harvard University, Shawn has become a best-selling author and speaker. His most recent book, Big Potential, demonstrates how achieving happiness and unlocking one’s true potential is only possible through our connections with others. His other books include The Happiness Advantage and Before Happiness. Shawn was a keynote speaker at the 2018 ISPA Conference & Expo in Phoenix, Arizona. Pulse: For those who aren’t familiar, how would you summarize the premise of Big Potential? Shawn: New research has shown us that when you look at a mountain you need to climb—when you look at it by yourself—your brain perceives a mountain that is ten to twenty percent steeper than a mountain of the same height perceived while standing next to a friend who will climb it with you. What we are finding is that when we evaluated happiness and potential in the past, we were doing it wrong. We were ignoring the impact of your “ecosystem” of potential around you. Happiness and potential must be an interconnected pursuit, not a “self-help” or isolated one. P: What makes Big Potential’s approach to potential unique? S: Instead of competing and comparing, we are finding that we shine much brighter together than we do alone. Change is much easier when we connect to others around us, and in turn, by creating positive change in others, you make it easier for you to choose to be positive. 64 PULSE ■ November 2018