Our firm’s management team participated in a Strategic Planning meeting this fall led by Dave Fechtman, CEO and Dan Silvert, President of the Velocity Group. They are leadership coaches, and behavioral style experts who took us through several exercises of learning about ourselves, and learning about one another. This included the fascinating four quadrants of the DISC assessment tool, to better understand our blended personalities.
One of many recommendations given to us was to read “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor. Shawn is a graduate of (and professor) Harvard University, and also a graduate of their Divinity School. This book centers around recent discoveries in positive psychology now commonly taught at the undergraduate level in many colleges and universities. His theory suggests happiness fuels success and further explains how we can reprogram our brains to become more positive in order to gain a competitive edge in life. This conclusion comes from Achor’s own studies at Harvard as well as from supporting research from around the world, and from history dating as far back as early Greek philosophers, religious prophets, and modern day writers and thinkers. This principle suggests that people who are happy have a psychological advantage over people who are unhappy.
The age old thought that hard work earns success and success earns happiness is actually the other way around, in Shawn’s practiced theories. If someone achieves happiness they have a much higher probability of being successful. Happiness is the precursor to success. Happiness implies a positive mode in the present and a positive outlook for the future. He also teaches be humble enough to know we seldom do great things alone. The most successful people invest in their friends, peers and family members (known as our social support network) to propel themselves forward, and gives them credit for helping to carry the ball to the finish line.
He instructs us to learn the techniques to build commonsense habits and thoughtful planning into preserving your day by developing routines that allow for:
- making plans to look forward to
- participate in conscious acts of kindness
- infusing positivity into your surroundings
- investing in experiences, not just in material goods.
He further suggests to build the concept of avoiding distractions into the productive part of your day, turn your cell phone off/volume off, check your email at a predetermined three times a day, and don’t let the automatic news or stock exchange feeds impede your goals and objectives for the day. Sounds a little too easy to be true, but give it a try for yourself and be your own judge of what comes from this.
We can all shine brighter and maintain a more positive mindset in every aspect of life, however it takes thoughtful time and habit planning to incorporate these learned skills into your everyday life. Keep in focus, not everyone can, or is programmed in this mode of thinking and we should understand and respect differences in this regard.
Take time to reflect and understand what defines your own happiness; don’t seek to write a book this New Year, simply a new page in your life’s strategies for 2018.
Enjoy your journey.