Regardless of any situation, one can still find at least one positive aspect in their lives.
That is the principle behind “The Happiness Advantage,” written by Shawn Achor. Wahpeton Public Schools is inviting Twin Towns Area residents to learn more about the Happiness Advantage during a free event from 9-11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 20 at Wahpeton High School.
“Devin Hughes will be speaking in our auditorium,” Principal Ned Clooten said. “I’ve read ‘The Happiness Advantage’ and have heard Mr. Hughes speak. It is going to be a great event.”
Hughes is a senior consultant with International Thought Leader Network (ITLN) and has clients including Dell, Federal Express and the U.S. Department of Defense.
“He is an avid storyteller who has the unique ability to connect with audiences by inspiring them to be the change they wish to see in the world,” Hughes’ biography states.
The ITLN describes Hughes as being at the forefront of leading culture change, developing simplified tools for innovation, strategy planning and aligning sales, marketing and communications strategies for maximum business results.
“His presentations have included ‘orange frog training,’ which is taken from a parable in ‘The Happiness Advantage,’” Clooten said. “When we are thankful in our lives, we can recognize more things to be thankful for. Our thankfulness can become contagious.”
Achor, according to his website, drew on his own research to write “The Happiness Advantage.” It included a large study of happiness and potential conducted at Harvard University and large corporations.
“Achor explains how we can reprogram our brains to become more positive and ultimately more successful at work,” his website continued.
Happiness Advantage teaching is a training Clooten had long wanted to bring to Wahpeton Public Schools.
“This is our second year implementing it with the high schoolers and we’re thinking it can be more impactful with the younger students,” he said.
In recent years, Wahpeton High School has offered both a happiness survey and also participation in the “Positive in the Present” program. The idea is encouraging students to keep track of what they are thankful for.
“We had surveys in November and then in May,” Clooten recalled. “Anyone who was actively participating in Positive in the Present saw an increase of approximately 10 points on the survey scale. Anyone who was sporadically participating saw about a 5-point increase. Those who weren’t saw no real change.”
The results aren’t immediately discernible, but Clooten is optimistic that youth and community members can change a negative attitude toward the world at large.
“I would like visitors to realize that no matter what we’re going through, we can find things to be thankful for,” Clooten said.
Wahpeton High School is located at 1021 11th St. N., Wahpeton.