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Happiness & Success

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Happiness & Success

Action for Happiness,

5 min read
3 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Is it possible to be happy in the midst of chaos?

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Engaging
  • Inspiring


In Flint, Michigan, people have been facing a water crisis, unemployment, poverty and an uptick in crime. In the midst of all this hardship, a grandmother cultivated a compelling happiness habit for her grandchildren. She wrote down all the positive stories her grandchildren told her and put the scraps of paper in a glass jar. On subsequent visits, she read their happy stories back to them. In this YouTube video hosted by the co-founder of Action for Happiness, Dr. Mark Williamson, happiness expert Shawn Achor explains how trying this and other simple but powerful gratitude exercises can boost happiness in hard times.


Small daily habits can help you overcome genetic and environmental factors that might otherwise predispose you to unhappiness. 

Many people commonly believe that two factors, genes and environmental influences, predispose individuals to unhappiness. You can’t control either of those things. What you can change, however, are your actions. For example, every person you know has genes that predispose them to tooth decay. Pair tooth decay genes with modern sugar-laden diets, and you have both the genetic predisposition and environmental conditions that should lead most people to be toothless by age 15. So why do individuals keep their teeth for many years? It’s a simple toothbrushing habit that helps them overcome this predisposition. Happiness habits work in a similar way.

Research shows that crafting small daily habits of gratitude and appreciation benefits people ...

About the Speaker

Shawn Achor is a best-selling author, speaker and co-founder of the Institute for Applied Positive Research. His books include The Happiness Advantage, Big Potential and Before Happiness. Dr. Mark Williamson is co-founder and director of the nonprofit organization Action for Happiness.

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    V. B. 2 years ago
    Gratitude, is a great habit and has power to bring more and more joy in one's life. Unfortubatly this habit is seen in very less people. Peopel are miser enough to express gratitude. They take it for granted. Gratitude not only brings happiness to us but to the reciever as well and motivates the reciver to do more and more good things. Practicing it is essentioal if we want to be happy.