Increase Happiness and Increase Performance?

September 5, 2018 Richard Justenhoven

When we’re happy, the world is a better place and the work we do improves.

In such cases, we tend to become more focused, more accommodating and simply achieve more. So what can we do to encourage our own positive outlook and consequently increase performance?

In this TEDx talk, Shawn Achor takes a look at how we can develop and nurture a positive outlook and explores the subsequent impact on our work performance.

Achor begins by pointing out that despite us thinking that it is the reality of our own world that shapes us and who we are it is, in fact, it’s the other way around. It is how we view or perceive the world around us that then shapes our reality. Achor says that our reality is created by the lens that we choose to look through at our personal world. As such, if change the lens (or the way in which we see everything), we can change outcomes.

Achor comments that the science of happiness shows that 90 percent of our long-term happiness is predicted not by the external world, but by the way in which our brains process the world.

So how does this impact the world of work?

Achor draws on research that says that only 25% of job successes are predicted by IQ with 75 percent of job success are predicted by our optimism levels, our social support and our ability to see stress as a challenge instead of as a threat. He suggests that, if we can raise a person’s level of positivity right now, then higher performance will follow later. And surely higher performance is what we are aiming for.

Achor argues that the brain performs significantly better when positive and not negative, neutral or stressed. He says that ‘intelligence’ rises, creativity increases and energy levels soar. Furthermore, we are 31% more productive when our brain is positive than when negative, neutral or stressed.

Whilst there are clearly a range of other factors which influence performance at work such as having the abilities, skills and personality characteristics needed, Achor’s comments suggest that we could further improve performance if we take responsibility to increase our happiness. And finally, he shares some activities in his talk that can help us do this.

It’s worth a watch.

About the Author

Richard Justenhoven

Richard Justenhoven is the product development director within Aon's Assessment Solutions. A leading organizational psychologist, Richard is an acknowledged expert in the design, implementation and evaluation of online assessments and a sought after speaker about such topics.

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