How Happiness Drives Productivity
And Why You Must Train For It
Wars, hurricanes, poverty, political unrest, and now the global economy caving in under relentless COVID-19 pressure. It seems the life we know has been turned upside down. From our Facebook feeds to the daily news, gloom and negativity seem to dominate. The question is – have we conditioned our brains to accept negativity as the norm or is chaos our reality? More importantly, how does our emotional health impact our productivity, success, and overall happiness, and can we make happiness a competitive advantage?
I want to explore how our society views happiness and success and why must we consciously and actively pursue positivity in order to be more productive and successful.
The skewed formula of success
In a recent TED Talk, psychologist Shawn Achor lays out a compelling explanation of why the “conventional” path to success will never lead you to happiness and what action we should take to experience the best of both worlds.
From childhood, we’ve been taught to believe that success is a product of external factors – i.e. overcoming the competition, maintaining a high workload, and accepting that stress is part of a professional life. Yet research demonstrates that the single most important factor in our success is how we perceive the world around us.
And further, we have been sold the idea that success will lead to happiness. But in fact, it is the opposite: it is happiness and positivity that lead us to achieve more. A positive mindset makes us more receptive to new ideas and enhances our learning ability. You can agree that these qualities directly impact our business and professional outcomes.
For instance, research shows that you’re 37% more likely to close an all-important sale if you approach the challenge with a clear, positive mindset rather than a neutral one.
Factors such as optimism, reliable social support networks, and our willingness to utilize stress as a tool profoundly impact business and work outcomes. Scoring high on these elements tips the scale in your favor by a staggering 75%! It is this sort of impact that can give you a competitive advantage over your peers.
How to train for happiness as a competitive advantage?
Your goal, using happiness as a competitive advantage, should be to instill a positive mindset in the “present moment” rather than tying happiness to a future “success” event such as a promotion or a nicer car. If you’re able to summon positivity before embarking on a business or professional quest, it will sharply improve your odds of success.
Here are some habits you can adopt to trigger the “happiness advantage”:
Daily gratitude will put you in firm control of your emotional wellbeing. You’ll be in a much stronger position to cope with a host of debilitating emotions such as frustration, envy, and resentment. It eliminates social comparison and will bring about a sharp rise in your self-esteem thus directly impacting your odds of success.
Lack of gratitude can also leave us vulnerable to bouts of unwanted aggression. Being thankful promotes empathy and makes us less likely to push back and pursue revenge.
Hitting the gym a few times a week does a lot more than sculpting a pair of steely arms. It develops discipline and helps us appreciate how a behavior has a direct impact on our happiness and success. Not to mention a good workout is an effective stress buster.
Strenuous physical activity floods our system with dopamine, which instantly makes us feel good. Moreover, it will make us a lot more productive as exercise has shown to decrease fatigue by up to 20%. Not to mention it will take your self-confidence through the roof. And no you don’t need to spend hours and hours in the gym to reap the benefits. 3-4 moderate sessions each week should do the trick.
From competing for that corner office to raising a perfect family, most of us are juggling several tasks at a time. However, constant multitasking doesn’t always translate into an optimal outcome.
Meditation helps us hit the reset button and refocuses our attention and energy on aspects that are truly important. It calms us down, helps us handle pressure, and brings about a measurable improvement in our ability to focus on the task at hand.
Research has shown that meditation may impact our brain’s structure and our ability to retain and process information. A study carried out at the University of California shows that students were able to score higher on assessment tests after only two weeks of “mindfulness” training. This practice is key to leveraging happiness as a competitive advantage.
Maintain a Journal
Writing your thoughts down on a piece of paper can be incredibly therapeutic. You should strive to write about one positive experience every day. Not only will you be able to re-live the moment but it will serve as a reassuring reminder of hope and that life isn’t all that bad.
Maintaining a journal is also an effective way to manage your anxieties and frustrations. Take out a few minutes before ending your day to write down your thoughts. Plus, you can use the routine to stay organized and plan for the day ahead.
Extending kindness to others is the core driver of overall wellbeing and the foundation of happiness as a competitive advantage. The simple act of leaving a thank you note for someone has the potential to transform your perspective and theirs.
Research shows that practicing conscious kindness profoundly impacts life satisfaction and our ability to manage stress. A two-month study conducted at the University of British Columbia shows people with high stress and anxiety experienced a significant change in mood after engaging in acts of kindness.
Download our FREE eBook – The Roadmap to Practice Recovery. We touch on how to motivate and re-engage your team and how to get your productivity back to pre-lockdown levels. Moreover, the eBook discusses numerous other factors crucial to restarting your practice profitably after the lockdown.
Chime in with your thoughts and comments. We’d love to hear what measures you have taken and how you plan to lead your practice into the post-COVID landscape.