Happiness is the joy you feel when you’re aware that you are becoming your best self. It’s a little higher-order state than just feeling good (which Positive Psychology researchers call “positive affect”). Feeling good is a great start to happiness, the way I see it. It seems to me like something shiny. For sure, shiny happiness is good, but it lives pretty much on the surface. True happiness is a deep glow that comes from within.
There’s a ton of research documenting that shiny happiness, “positive affect,” is tied to positive personal and business outcomes. Says happiness guru Shawn Achor, “The single greatest advantage in the modern economy is a happy and engaged workforce. A decade of research proves that happiness raises nearly every business and educational outcome: raising sales by 37%, productivity by 31%, and accuracy on tasks by 19%, as well as a myriad of health and quality of life improvements.”[i] Happy people:[ii]
- Are more productive at work and more creative
- Make more money and have superior jobs
- Are better leaders and negotiators
- Are more likely to marry and to have fulfilling marriages, and less likely to divorce
- Have more friends and social support
- Have stronger immune systems, are physically healthier, and even live longer
- Are more helpful and philanthropic
- Cope better with stress and trauma
Companies that have created happy cultures are described in Delivering Happiness.[iii] They experience:
- 31% increase in productivity
- 44% higher retention
- 300% more innovation
- 125% less burnout
- 66% fewer sick leaves
- 51% lower turnover
Happiness is directly correlated with employee engagement. Sixty-six percent of employees are not engaged at work.[iv] The costs of disengagement, $500 billion per year in the US, include lost sales opportunities, lower productivity and higher turnover.[v] We now also understand that happiness doesn’t come as the result of a productive work environment. Happiness actually creates those advantages!
A Shiny, Happy Person
BEING happy actually rewires the brain to make it easier to achieve its (and your) full potential. So, as an individual, what can you do to be happy? How can you train your brain to create all of these positive outcomes? There are a billion other blog posts on that! They all focus on the shiny kind of happy. While just feeling good is not the desired endpoint, it’s a great place to start! Shawn Achor has written the book (literally) on how to achieve The Happiness Advantage. I love his work and will just directly share with you the simple techniques he’s proven can change your brain and put you on the path to being a shiny, happy person[vi]:
- Write down three new things you are grateful for each day.
- Write for 2 minutes a day describing one positive experience you had over the past 24 hours.
- Exercise for 10 minutes a day.
- Meditate for 2 minutes, focusing on your breath going in and out.
- Write one, quick email first thing in the morning thanking or praising a member on your team.
Doing these activities consistently for three weeks will literally change how you see the world. You’ll be more attuned to the positive in your life. You’ll be able to control the chatter in your mind that draws attention away from the present and focuses it on the past (which we can’t control) or the future (which hasn’t happened yet), and you’ll strengthen your ability to see the world in terms of those whom you serve.
A Glowing, Happy Person
Being happy from your core is something else altogether. “Glowing” happiness is not something that you can just create by training your brain. It is not a goal you set out to attain. But, like enlightenment, it comes easily to the person who is ready. How will you know when you’re ready?
- When you’ve come to understand and love who you truly are.
- When you’ve identified and embraced your strengths.
- When you’ve imagined and started the process of creating your best self.
- When you’ve developed an appreciation of how the energy you bring complements others' and can best serve the the world.
Don’t be surprised if that journey brings you to some deep thinking. It will be worth it. That kind of glowing happiness will allow you to tap your intuition, creative potential and ability to lead others in ways that will change the world!
Want to up your game, connect to what brings you joy and use that awareness to increase revenue and kick your life and career into high gear? Consider investing in yourself. Whether through one-on-one coaching, or a cost-effective group coaching program, what you discover will help the work you do feel effortless! Click here to learn more.
Pete Colgan works with sales and marketing professionals who want strategies to handle the stresses of their profession so they can create successful, happy lives.
[i] Achor, Shawn. "The Happiness Dividend." Harvard Business Review. 2011. Web. 13 July 2016. https://hbr.org/2011/06/the-happiness-dividend/
[ii] Lyubomirsky, Sonja, Laura King, and Ed Diener. "The Benefits of Frequent Positive Affect: Does Happiness Lead to Success?" Psychological Bulletin 131.6 (2005): 803-55. Web.
[iii] Hsieh, Tony. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose. New York: Business Plus, 2010. Print.
[iv] "U.S. Employee Engagement Reaches New High in March." Gallup.com. Web. 13 July 2016. http://www.gallup.com/poll/190622/employee-engagement-reaches-new-high-march.aspx
[v] Min, Ji-A. "Motivate Your Sales Team (Or Else): It Pays to Have Happy Salespeople | Ideal." Ideal.2014. Web. 13 July 2016. https://ideal.com/motivate-your-sales-team-2014-tips/
[vi] Achor, Shawn. The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work. New York: Broadway, 2010. Print.