What comes first? Happiness or success?
I have a client who is unhappy at his job (hence why he engaged me, obviously). He makes great money, when he is performing, but his compensation is highly commission based. When he’s not performing, he’s not making great money.
Due to life changes, he NEEDS to catch up financially and find a new job that pays the same or more to what he was making when he was at the top of his game. He also really wants to make sure that his next step is the RIGHT next step, or he will find himself at square one.
There are also personal priorities in his life that he rated highly, but is willing to delay them for years, if necessary, in order to land and succeed in a new, high-paying job.
In essence, he is delaying happiness for success.
However, what I learned this weekend from a Consciousness Engineering class is that Harvard studies prove that happiness increases success, and not just by a little bit. A quality annual vacation time of 11 days or more away from home leads to GREATER performance.
The main takeaway from this class was that using happiness as a means rather than an end increases productive energy by 31%, sales by 37%, and the likelihood of promotion by 40%. Additionally, you are more likely to live longer and stave off sickness and disease. You raise your intelligence and improve your memory. Your creativity and problem solving abilities receive a boost. There is also the link between your wellness and performance to consider.
“Great,” you say. “Just get happy, eh?”
I understand. It is not as easy as it sounds, so Shawn Achor shared four practices that, when done daily for a period of 30 to 90 days will improve your happiness and gives you all of the benefits previously mentioned. None of them take longer than two minutes and you can use the strategy of habit pairing. An example would be doing these while you brush your teeth, to increase your likelihood of making them true habits.
Here they are:
- At work your first item of the day is to spend two minutes expressing your gratitude in writing to a colleague, boss, or vendor.
- Every night think about three new things that you are grateful for and WHY– the WHY is most important.
- Think about a single positive experience you had in the past 24 hours and write four bullet points recording the details you remember about it, such as the clothes you were wearing.
- Spend ten minutes focusing on your breath moving in and out, or whatever time you can make. Yes, this is meditation. Think you don’t have time? Investing this time has produced 62 more minutes of productivity. So, in essence, it creates more time.
Ironically, I listened to this class while driving down to the shore in an effort to make myself happy after an unusually challenging day with my youngest daughter. It did not work, but the next day we got to bike ride on the boardwalk, play in the ocean, and go on rides before heading back home for her first day of Pre-K. Today, even though I am still exhausted, I feel calmer, happier, and even more patient.
Try experimenting with happiness in your life and share with us the results you find.