There’s a great quote by Jean-Paul Sartre: “We are our choices.”
When it comes to our happiness and our overall success in life, that’s truer than you might have realized.
Taking time to examine the choices you make in your life and work each day and over the long term to make sure they are enhancing your well-being can do more than just make you happier. Working on enhancing happiness has actually been shown to have a tangible return on investment and can make you more successful.
Here’s one example from the business world. According to positive psychology researcher Shawn Achor, if you are happy and you have happy people around you in your organization, you can improve your organization’s performance and productivity by anywhere from 10 percent to 30 percent. And if your team is happier, you will take better care of your clients and have greater impact on them—which in turn will enable your team to do well financially.
With that in mind, here are steps for increasing your happiness in ways that will lead to better results in your work and in your life. These come courtesy of Henry Miller—a truly exceptional trainer, coach and consultant who helps companies and organizations improve their performance and productivity.
He spent years analyzing the growing research on well-being and synthesizing it into his book The Serious Pursuit of Happiness—an essential road map to greater happiness.
Understand the Basics
Some people think they are predisposed to be happy or unhappy and that’s just how it goes. Not so. You can take steps to enhance your happiness and that of the people around you.
Research using data from the Minnesota Twin Registry shows that around 50 percent of our level of happiness depends on our deliberate thoughts, attitudes and actions—great news for those of you who assumed your level of happiness is hard-wired.
To improve the drivers of happiness that are within our control, start with some basic ideas to guide you:
• Happiness takes effort. Creating and enhancing happiness in your life, your family and your workplace is just like any other major initiative you undertake—it requires time and effort to get up and running smoothly.
• Happiness is a numbers game. The frequency of positive events in your life matters more than the intensity of those events. You’ll have better results if you boost the number of small positive moments in your day instead of trying to have just a few instances that are hugely positive.
• Happiness is a habit. Make happiness habitual—if you are not as naturally happy as other people, incorporate happy habits into your life while removing other habits.
• Do more for other people. When you spend time doing things for other people and trying to make them happy, you actually end up happier than when you do things to please just yourself.
I hope these tips begin to bring much joy and happiness to the lives of you and your family. Stay tuned for the next two parts of this series, including “Proven Paths to Happiness” and “How to Plan and Act for Creating Happiness.”
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