Shawn Achor's TED video, The Happy Secret to Better Work talks about how individuals can become happy with their career jobs. The presentation was made on May 2011 courtesy of TEDxBloomington. Achor argues that a significant percentage of happiness culminates from how the brain processes our world instead of the external environment. Achor continues to posit that if we can change the formula for success and happiness, then we can change the way individuals affect reality. Achor passes the message that individuals need to change the formula for happiness and success. Instead of worrying about the competition and the hustle they experience in their daily lives, Achor argues that most companies and institutions of higher learning are designed to think that hard work brings success, which then leads to happiness. Acor posits that the reason why people never become happy and become successful is that when their brain achieves success, they turn the goal post and start on planning to attain more success. The author argues that if happiness is on the opposite side of success, the brain never reaches that destination. What the society has done is to push happiness over the cognitive horizon making it impossible to achieve. Achor concludes that happiness can only be achieved if individuals can raise their level of positivity in the present so that the brain can create a happiness advantage, which enables the brain to perform significantly better than when in negative situations. The creation of positivity in the present allows every business outcome to improve. Achor urges individuals to reverse the formula for success and happiness to see what their brains are capable of achieving. In the whole presentation, Achor utilizes facts from research studies to strengthen his argument regarding the importance of reversing the brain to think positively. Moreover, the author presents the speech in a narrative style that engages the audience through funny stories that provide insight into the discussion. Furthermore, the relevance and subject matter of the content discussed is in the proper timeline because contemporary society is in the dilemma of defining happiness and success. The community categorizes happiness as a goal that can be achieved through a series of chronological events, which are hard work, money, and happiness. Achor presentation is at the right time where individuals need to be taught the new way of defining happiness, and some of the strategies that individuals can achieve pleasure in the present.
Achor's speech is organized in an appealing manner that is easy to understand. The author begins the talk by refreshing the minds and setting the attitude of the audience by narrating to them an interesting story, which relates to what the author discusses in the speech. Achor utilizes real-life examples in the whole presentation to bring closer the attention of the audience toward understanding his message. After closely related illustrations, Achor focuses on evidence from research and the results obtained for reversing the thinking strategy of the brain. The author closes the presentation with a conclusion that provides recommendations that can help individuals to train their minds to think positively. Additionally, Achor bookends the speech by tying the introduction to the conclusion. Achor starts the speech by narrating the story of his sister who he motivated to believe she is a unicorn; since then the sister did not disturb her parents and cause sleepless nights. Achor connects the importance of positive channeling in the conclusion and concludes that it brings about ripples of positive effect. He utilizes simple words and relevant examples that engage the audience and make it easy for them to understand the whole discussion. In the speech, Achor employs power point illustrations to illustrate his points and show evidence obtained from research. The power point slides are relevant because they contain well-organized and straightforward information. The slides consist of short words that make it easier for the audience to capture and follow the discussion. Equally important, non-verbal delivery is also evident in the speech. Achor continually utilizes gestures, especially his hands, and short stage movements to make the presentation effective as possible. He maintains steady eye contact with the audience, which is an indication of his confidence and mastery of the content he is presenting. Stylistic devices such as alliteration are also evident. Achor repeats the term unicorn twice in the presentation as the word that he used to motivate his younger sister. The presentation is also a fast moving and a hilarious talk. Achor speaks at a faster rate, which seems like his personality and a good time management skill of speaking many relevant things at a shorter period. Overall, the response from the audience through laughter is an indication that Achor connected successfully with the audience throughout the presentation. The connection was made possible due to the engaging stories and the narrative structures utilized by Achor.
It is essential to note that Achor adapted Aristotle's pillars of persuasion, which are ethos, pathos, and logos. Aristotle defined ethos as the credibility and the character of the communicator. Ethos focuses more on belief and truth, and Aristotle believed that what was right was easier to prove and persuade. In the presentation, Achor uses real stories and relevant facts to convince the audience that happiness inspires us to become productive. His confidence and integration of relevant examples make him credible to the audience. The second Aristotelian method of persuasion is pathos, which involves the effective employment of audience psychology. It is the art of bringing the audience to the right state of emotion. Speakers often utilize various techniques such as enhancing eloquence to connect with the audience. Achor achieves pathos successfully by integrating exciting stories that have a moral lesson to the topic under discussion. Through laughter, Achor ensures the audiences are in the right state of mind to participate in the talk. Furthermore, Logos is the use of deductive and inductive logic to prove a case. Achor utilized evidence from research to demonstrate to the audience that reversing our way of thinking boosts one's productivity and creates positive ripples. Nevertheless, Achor adapts Cicero's five canons of rhetoric in his presentation. The principles include invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery. The invention is the discovery of arguments to support ideas. The arrangement is the process of organizing a presentation into introduction, narration, proofs, refutation, and conclusion. The style is the speaker's choice of words and non-verbal forms of communication. Memory is the process of connecting an argument with our imaginations and associations. Delivery is the style used to present the facts and arguments to the audience. Achor successfully utilizes the five elements designed by Cicero in his presentation such as the use of facts, arranging the presentation in an orderly manner, appropriate choice of words such as the unicorn, and the use of the memory from childhood.
Another speaker such as Robert Waldinger uses similar presentation techniques as Achor though he uses a slow tone of voice. Waldinger focuses on happiness and encourages individuals to strive to form positive and strong relationships with family, friends, and spouses because these relationships play a significant part in ensuring a person achieves happiness in their lifetime. Waldinger also utilizes humor and facts from research conducted by Harvard. He utilizes gestures and visual aids such as power point presentations. It is essential to note that Achor's presentation relates to some of my personal experiences. I used to worry about speaking in front of a crowd, and I would become extremely anxious and forget significant bits of my discussion. However, through believing in myself and watching motivational videos, I managed to rebuild my confidence, and I would speak in front of a crowd calmly and even respond to questions. Based on my personal experience I concur with Achor on the importance of reversing our thinking and instill positive motivation in the present to achieve happiness and success in our endeavors.
Achor Shawn. "The Happy Secret to Better Work." TED, MAY. 2011, www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work#t-143081
Legget Brian. A Rhetorical Approach to Communication. Occasional Paper, 05: no.17. 1-12. Print.
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