Those of you who are a similar age to me will recall the song by Ian Dury and the Blockheads ‘Reasons to be cheerful – part 3’. I don’t know about you but I often wondered what happened to parts 1 and 2?
But do you know the real reason why we should all be cheerful? It has been scientifically proven that happiness leads to success, and that this success extends across every domain of our lives, both work and personal. Happy leaders are better leaders, happy workers are more productive, happy people have better relationships and so the list goes on.
This research therefore turns on its head society’s long held belief that success was the precursor to happiness so when we achieved success then happiness orbited around us. We now know that success actually orbits around happiness. This is similar to us discovering hundreds of years ago that the earth orbits round the sun and not the other way round as was previously believed. The magnitude of these discoveries and implications for our lives is very similar – HUGE!
But what is happiness? As you would expect, happiness is subjective – it is how we each feel about our own lives. This has been shown to be a combination of experiencing pleasure with deeper feelings of meaning and purpose. When we feel we are drowning in work we may think that we would love a life just filled with pleasure, but this would soon feel empty and worthless. Similarly purpose without pleasure becomes duty and drudgery, so neither scenario leads to happiness.
How clear are you on your core purpose and meaning in life and how much time do you give yourself to simply experience pleasure?
It is far too easy to get caught up in the negativity of our world especially in the wake of recent terrorist attacks. Spending too much time listening to or watching the news however increases our natural negativity bias to a point where it affects our wellbeing and makes us more risk averse in all elements of our lives. We obviously need to keep abreast of what is happening in the world but we can also counter this affect by actively focusing on positive things in life. Some people keep a gratitude diary noting down three things each day to be thankful for. These can be as simple as hearing birdsong or someone making you a cup of tea. There are also lots more zany ideas in the Ian Dury lyrics including yellow socks and nanny goats to name but two!
Whatever it is for you, over time you train your brain to look for the positive in situations rather than the negative and this increases your wellbeing and happiness and therefore also your success! Would you like more happiness and success in your life?
For more tools and strategies to help increase happiness for yourself and your team contact us at iTS leadership.
~ Author: Ursula Franklin