Your positive action combined with positive thinking results in success. If we find a positive in every crisis, we might have the joy we long for.
Without question, happiness is a competitive advantage. Happiness and positive psychology expert Shawn Achor talked about his research of (mostly unhappy) Harvard students.
Achor’s research indicates that only ten percent of our happiness is shaped by our external world; ninety percent is influenced by our internal perspective. In studying high-achieving Harvard students, Achor realized that one common mistake we make is thinking that achieving our goals (be it losing ten pounds or getting a promotion) will make us happier. This doesn’t work because once we’ve accomplished our goal, the target moves and we find ourselves dissatisfied again. We need to flip the formula around – create happiness here and now because that is what will help us achieve our goals. Organizations are uniquely positioned to intervene on their workers’ behalf to make them happier and the result will be more productive, more resilient and, yes, happier, employees. Here is Happiness As A Competitive Advantage:
Making Happiness a Competitive Advantage for Your Organization
Simply put, happy employees perform better. Studies show that increased employee well-being results in increased performance and productivity for employees’ companies or organizations, along with positive benefits for the individual employees. It’s a win-win, if the company knows how to unleash this powerful competitive advantage.
Competitive advantage can be achieved due to cost advantages or by differentiation of any product or service in natural resources, people, patents, brand equity and reputation, or by processes that add unique and significant value to customers’ lives—advantages that can’t easily be duplicated by competitors. And, by adding significant value to clients’ lives that helps them confront and conquer their problems, client loyalty – and the positive “word of mouth” marketing and repeat business that it engenders – is enhanced. At Zappos, for example, 75% of orders are from repeat customers. At Amazon, in a 1999 letter to shareholders, the percentage of orders placed by repeat customers was 73%.
Is Pleasure Happiness?
Now many people think of happiness as just a series of pleasures—fun, parties, peak experiences, our favorite food and drink, sex, and even drugs. But, if we are honest with ourselves, the feelings of happiness we feel during these pleasures end soon after the activity ends. When the pleasure ends, even the most ecstasy-producing pleasures, our feelings of happiness end soon after. These are really only shortcuts to happiness—easy to do—but they only last often for minutes or hours—very short-term in duration. In fact, recently, neuroscientists in their study of brain function have located our happiness center: the left pre-frontal cortex—and are working to ways to just stimulate that area directly—and skip all the pleasures—so we can feel instantly happy. But even this strategy of happiness being a left-brainer still only generates short-lasting, short-term feelings of joy.
We all need pleasures in our lives, otherwise, life would just be an unending series of Wednesdays. But this type of short-term pleasure is not what we mean when we say, “I just want to be happy.” And it is not what Aristotle meant when he said: “Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” Nor is it what the Dalai Lama meant when he said: “The very motion of our life is towards happiness.” And it is most definitely not what we wish for our children when we say “I just want them to be happy.”
Instead, all of these familiar and popular pleasures are really just appetizers—just short-term “shortcuts” to happiness that we all love—but that don’t last and that don’t fill our need to contribute—to matter.
For real, sustainable levels of happiness and fulfillment, we need to move beyond a short-term often myopic focus on only the easy pleasures—keep them in our lives, but within limits—to something more lasting and more meaningful.
Getting serious about happiness is one of those best paths that companies and organizations can choose to follow to help each employee achieve the highest levels of emotional well-being possible—and to allow their company to reap the substantial benefits from a happier employee base.
And, the last decade and more of positive psychology research into happiness and how to achieve and sustain it in our lives has illuminated some facts. First, the serious pursuit of happiness is an active, not a passive pursuit. The famous bluebird of happiness may alight on our shoulder every once in awhile and bless us with joy, but we don’t have to passively wait for this chance occurrence. Instead, we can take positive action to lastingly increase our levels of happiness and well-being. Second, since approximately 50% of our happiness potential is predetermined at birth by our genetic inheritance (this has been proven by over 100 studies involving identical twins), and another 10% is due to our current environment and our upbringing, we have the remaining 40% of our potential that we can positively affect by intentionally and consciously thinking, acting, and living our lives in certain proven ways—and by doing so more frequently both at home and at work.
Read the entire article at CEOworld.biz
The Four Emotions That Can Lead To Life Change.
by Jim Rohn (excerpted from “Seven Strategies for Wealth and Happiness”)
Emotions are the most powerful forces inside us. Under the power of emotions, human beings can perform the most heroic (as well as barbaric) acts. To a great degree, civilization itself can be defined as the intelligent channeling of human emotion. Emotions are fuel and the mind is the pilot, which together propel the ship of civilized progress.
Which emotions cause people to act? There are four basic ones; each, or a combination of several, can trigger the most incredible activity. The day that you allow these emotions to fuel your desire is the day you’ll turn your life around.
One does not usually equate the word “disgust” with positive action. And yet properly channeled, disgust can change a person’s life. The person who feels disgusted has reached a point of no return. He or she is ready to throw down the gauntlet at life and say, “I’ve had it!” That’s what I said after many humiliating experiences at age 25, I said. “I don’t want to live like this anymore.
I’ve had it with being broke. I’ve had it with being embarrassed, and I’ve had it with lying.”
Yes, productive feelings of disgust come when a person says, “Enough is enough.”
The “guy” has finally had it with mediocrity. He’s had it with those awful sick feelings of fear, pain and humiliation. He then decides he is not going to live like this anymore.” Look out! This could be the day that turns a life around. Call it what you will, the “I’ve had it” day, the “never again” day, the “enough’s enough” day. Whatever you call it, it’s powerful! There is nothing so life-changing as gut-wrenching disgust!
Most of us need to be pushed to the wall to make decisions. And once we reach this point, we have to deal with the conflicting emotions that come with making them. We have reached a fork in the road. Now this fork can be a two-prong, three-prong, or even a four-prong fork. No wonder that decision-making can create knots in stomachs, keep us awake in the middle of the night, or make us break out in a cold sweat.
Making life-changing decisions can be likened to internal civil war. Conflicting armies of emotions, each with its own arsenal of reasons, battle each other for supremacy of our minds. And our resulting decisions, whether bold or timid, well thought out or impulsive, can either set the course of action or blind it. I don’t have much advice to give you about decision-making
Whatever you do, don’t camp at the fork in the road. Decide. It’s far better to make a wrong decision than to not make one at all. Each of us must confront our emotional turmoil and sort out our feelings.
How does one gain desire? I don’t think I can answer this directly because there are many ways. But I do know two things about desire:
a. It comes from the inside not the outside.
b. It can be triggered by outside forces.
Almost anything can trigger desire. It’s a matter of timing as much as preparation. It might be a song that tugs at the heart. It might be a memorable sermon. It might be a movie, a conversation with a friend, a confrontation with the enemy, or a bitter experience. Even a book or an article such as this one can trigger the inner mechanism that will make some people say, “I want it now!”
Therefore, while searching for your “hot button” of pure, raw desire, welcome into your life each positive experience. Don’t erect a wall to protect you from experiencing life. The same wall that keeps out your disappointment also keeps out the sunlight of enriching experiences. So let life touch you. The next touch could be the one that turns your life around.
Resolve says, “I will.” These two words are among the most potent in the English language. I WILL. Benjamin Disraeli, the great British statesman, once said, “Nothing can resist a human will that will stake even its existence on the extent of its purpose.” In other words, when someone resolves to “do or die,” nothing can stop him.
The mountain climber says, “I will climb the mountain. They’ve told me it’s too high, it’s too far, it’s too steep, it’s too rocky, it’s too difficult. But it’s my mountain. I will climb it. You’ll soon see me waving from the top or you’ll never see me, because unless I reach the peak, I’m not coming back.” Who can argue with such resolve?
When confronted with such iron-will determination, I can see Time, Fate and Circumstance calling a hasty conference and deciding, “We might as well let him have his dream. He’s said he’s going to get there or die trying.”
The best definition for “resolve” I’ve ever heard came from a schoolgirl in Foster City, California. As is my custom, I was lecturing about success to a group of bright kids at a junior high school. I asked, “Who can tell me what “resolve” means?” Several hands went up, and I did get some pretty good definitions. But the last was the best. A shy girl from the back of the room got up and said with quiet intensity, “I think resolve means promising yourself you will never give up.” That’s it! That’s the best definition I’ve ever heard: PROMISE YOURSELF YOU’LL NEVER GIVE UP.
Think about it! How long should a baby try to learn how to walk? How long would you give the average baby before you say, “That’s it, you’ve had your chance”? You say that’s crazy? Of course it is. Any mother would say, “My baby is going to keep trying until he learns how to walk!” No wonder everyone walks.
There is a vital lesson in this. Ask yourself, “How long am I going to work to make my dreams come true?” I suggest you answer, “As long as it takes.” That’s what these four emotions are all about.
This video highlights a new DVD program based on Shawn Achor’s “The Happiness Advantage.” To learn more about the book, please visit: http://www.happinessadvantage.com
The Happiness Advantage
The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work
Written by: Shawn Achor
Our most commonly held formula for success is broken.
Conventional wisdom holds that if we work hard we will be more successful, and if we are more successful, thenwe’ll be happy. If we can just find that great job, win that next promotion, lose those five pounds, happiness will follow. But recent discoveries in the field of positive psychology have shown that this formula is actually backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around. When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive at work. This isn’t just an empty mantra. This discovery has been repeatedly borne out by rigorous research in psychology and neuroscience, management studies, and the bottom lines of organizations around the globe.
iTunes – Preview
Amazon – Buy the Book
Audible – Listen
What you can do to increase positive emotions and take advantage of the “broaden and build” theory in your life?
Written by James Clear
Well, anything that sparks feelings of joy, contentment, and love will do the trick. You probably know what things work well for you. Maybe it’s playing the guitar. Maybe it’s spending time with a certain person. Maybe it’s carving tiny wooden lawn gnomes.
That said, here are three ideas for you to consider…
1. Meditation —
Recent research has revealed that people who meditate daily display more positive emotions that those who do not. As expected, people who meditated also built valuable long-term skills. For example, three months after the experiment was over, the people who meditated daily continued to display increased mindfulness, purpose in life, social support, and decreased illness symptoms.
2. Writing —
This study, published in the Journal of Research in Personality, examined a group of 90 undergraduate students who were split into two groups. The first group wrote about an intensely positive experience each day for three consecutive days. The second group wrote about a control topic.
Three months later, the students who wrote about positive experiences had better mood levels, fewer visits to the health center, and experienced fewer illnesses. Amazing. Better health after just three days of writing about positive things!
3. Play —
Schedule time to play into your life. We schedule meetings, conference calls, weekly events, and other responsibilities into our daily calendars… why not schedule time to play?
When was the last time you blocked out an hour on your calendar just to explore and experiment? When was the last time you intentionally carved out time to have fun? You can’t tell me that being happy is less important than your Wednesday meeting, and yet, we act like it is because we never give it a time and space to live on our calendars.
Give yourself permission to smile and enjoy the benefits of positive emotion. Schedule time for play and adventure so that you can experience contentment and joy, and explore and build new skills.
Excerpt from the article, “The Science of Positive Thinking: How Positive Thoughts Build Your Skills, Boost Your Health, and Improve Your Work” by James Clear of Huffingtonpost.com. Read the entire article here>>>>
Positive and negative thinking are contagious. We affect and are affected by the people we meet, in one way or another. This happens instinctively and on a subconscious level, through words, thoughts and feelings, and through body language.
Is it any wonder that we want to be around positive people, and prefer to avoid negative ones? It’s a proven fact that we are drawn to good energy and positive people. If we exhibit a more positive vibe, others are attracted to our energy and are more inclined to help us, yet those same people are inclined to avoid us, or anyone, when we broadcasting negativity. Negative thoughts, words and attitude, create negative and unhappy feelings, moods and behavior. When the mind is negative, poisons are released into the blood, which cause more unhappiness and negativity. This is the way to failure, frustration and disappointment.
In the business world, “positive thinking” is sometimes dismissed as non-scientific fluff. In a professional context, positive thinking has traditionally been trumped by concepts such as “work ethic” or “persistence.” But even the business world is beginning to acknowledge the bottom line benefits of being more upbeat and promoting a culture of positive thinking. Research is mounting that our attitude not only affects our health, but our overall productivity and prosperity. The World Health Organization is calling stress and negativity the “health epidemic of the 21st century.” Workplace stress costs U.S. businesses an estimated $200 to $300 billion a year because of absenteeism, employee turnover, decreased productivity, and legal, medical and insurance fees.
Research reveals that positive thinking is about much more than just being happy or upbeat. Positive perspectives and attitudes create actual value in your life and help you develop talents that endure beyond a simple smile. Honing positive consistent behaviors may very well be the key to a thriving, prosperous life. Barbara Fredrickson is a positive psychology researcher at the University of North Carolina who studies the impact of positive thinking on your work, your health, and your life. Fredrickson published a landmark paper that provides surprising insights about positive thinking and its impact on your skills. Her work is among the most referenced and cited in her field, and it is surprisingly useful in everyday life.
Fredrickson tested the impact of positive emotions on the brain through a focused experiment in which she divided her research subjects into five groups and showed each group different film clips. The first two groups were shown clips that created positive emotions. Group 1 saw images that created feelings of joy. Group 2 saw images that created feelings of contentment. Group 3 was the control group. They saw images that were neutral and produced no significant emotion. The last two groups were shown clips that created negative emotions. Group 4 saw images that created feelings of fear. Group 5 saw images that created feelings of anger.
Afterward, each participant was asked to imagine themselves in a situation where similar feelings would arise and to write down what they would do. Each participant was handed a piece of paper with 20 blank lines that started with the phrase,
“I would like to…”
Participants who saw images of fear and anger wrote down the fewest responses. Meanwhile, the participants who saw images of joy and contentment, wrote down a significantly higher number of actions that they would take, even when compared to the neutral group.
In summary, when you are experiencing positive emotions like joy, contentment, and love, you will see more possibilities in your life. These findings were among the first that suggested positive emotions broaden your sense of possibility and open your mind up to more options.
Decades-long studies indicate that workers with a higher positive-thought ratio have better health, increased productivity and more creative thinking. Positive thinkers tend to be better problem-solvers and are more engaged in their professional lives. Besides simply putting on a brave face or presenting an upbeat demeanor, research has proven that thinking positively has an actual transformative effect—and literally evolves the composition of our brain and redirects us toward success. Literally a ying-yang effect, magnetic opposites with push and pull, positive and negative thoughts can either open our mind to opportunities and possibilities while negative thoughts reduce our ability to feel hopeful and optimistic, and recedes our tendency towards success.
Genetics VS. Attitude
Is it truly possible to coach ourselves to be happier? Of course. Scientific measurements of happiness recognize a complex formula of interacting genes, habits, and life stages and events. Everyone has a genetic disposition, but the powerful takeaway from the studies is that, regardless of genetics, we each have the ability to take charge of our happiness by choosing our thoughts, actions and reactions. We can train our thoughts, we can practice positivity, and we can develop or redirect our habits. Behavior and attitude research is producing successful, simple exercises and learned skills designed to promote positive emotional qualities, such as optimism, thoughtfulness and kindness. Just as practice improves our abilities in fields such as athletics and musical talents, positive thinking is a skill that can be trained, learned, developed—even perfected. The profound bottom line of all of this research is that positivity can be practiced, and optimism can be developed, and the results produce real value—personally and professionally.