One of the most compelling TEDTalks I’ve seen is by Shawn Achor, a Harvard PhD who has extensively researched positive psychology. His remarkable finding is that happiness increases our success, energy, and access to our intellectual resources. The neurotransmitter chemical dopamine increases when we experience happiness and apparently serves to ignite learning centers in the brain. His research findings contradict the traditional maxim of “If I work hard to achieve my goals, I will be successful and then I’ll be happy.”
Food for Thought ~
Simply stated, being happy increases our success, not the other way around. Achor found that 90% of our happiness is based on how our brain processes our external reality. The critical factors of optimism and social support from like-minded others can lead to achievement in spite of obstacles. His recommendations include:
try three new things each day
record and recall positive experiences
resist fragmenting our attention with multi-tasking
practice random acts of kindness
Question for the day ~
What comes up for you as you consider this issue? As a leader, how does your happiness contribute to your success and effectiveness?
Achor and others are making a great contribution to the development of human potential. Imagine the possibilities!