I recently attended the opening session of Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP) yearly conference and was immediately drawn to keynote speaker John Achor’s thoughts on “The Happiness Advantage” and how positive thought can not only make you happier, but can provide a myriad of other positive impacts in your life. Not only can it have an impact on your life, the “ripple effect” of your happiness impacts everyone around you as well.
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I think the first mistake that people make is in how they define happiness. The vast majority of people associate happiness with pleasure, which sounds logical. An ancient Greek definition struck a particular chord with me and has be rethinking how I define happiness. Simply put, happiness is the joy you feel moving toward your potential. Being a runner this really hit home with me. NOBODY likes training for marathons. The sheer volume of runs you have to accumulate to prepare is an all-out assault on your body, and you typically feel miserable after most runs. That is until you realize your potential and actually finish a marathon. There is no feeling like it in the world and I can tell you from experience, that is happiness.
So, how does this translate your effectiveness at work and in life? In his book The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work, Achor gives the following statistics about how much better positive people perform:
- Your brain at positive is 31% more productive than your brain at negative, neutral or stressed
- You’re 37% better at sales
- 3X more creative
- 40 % more likely to be promoted
- 23% fewer fatigue symptoms 10X more engaged
- 39% more likely to live to age 94
Those are some staggering numbers, but after reading his book in one sitting after the conference, are hard to doubt. If you want to learn more about this, I highly recommend his book and also check out his TED talk, which has well over 4 million views (link to TED Talk)