Positive psychology - Webstock and Beyond
By Tristan -
on Thu Mar 1 2012
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facebookemail+1When asked what drives people to do certain things in their lives either professionally or personally, Toyota company believes that if you ask “why” five times you will invariably come to the truth. Which is why, when people are asked what their life goal is and then subsequently asked "why" they do it, the invariable result is that it is because that particular activity gives them some form of happiness.
Why am I writing about this topic you may ask?
Well, I want to share my journey on the topic of positive
psychology. It started after I watched an amazing TED talk by
Shawn Achor on 'The happy secret to better
work'. Then over the past month, there have been a
series of sychronous events that have occurred in my life, that all
point towards the development of a positive and happy mind.
If you don't read the rest of my blog, do yourself a favour. Watch and listen to Shawn he is mind altering!
Why is this important to you the reader? As an employer
it will offer insights on how you can raise productivity in your
team significantly without the lash. As a worker it will
enable you to produce great results, feel satisfied and
happy. And as an individual it will give you a new sustained
happiness and a different perspective on the world.
According to Shawn, 90% of your happiness is about how your
brain processes the world. However, the external world should
be not predictive of your happiness. If we can change the formula
in which we derive our happiness we can then affect our reality and
experience of it.
Furthermore only 25% of job successes are determined by IQ. The
remaining 75% are determined by your optimism levels, your social
support, and your ability to see stress as a challenge.
The traditional formula for happiness has been:
Better Work = More Successful = Happiness
This ultimately leads to constantly shifting goal posts - we
have momentary happy moments and then change our goals again.
Happiness is then pushed over the cognitive horizon.
It has been proven that if you can reverse this and give the
brain a positive advantage you will see increases in IQ /
Creativity and Productivity (up to 37% increases measured).
Happiness = Better Work = Success
When you are positive your brain creates dopamine. Being positive and happy has a
two-fold effect. Not only does it make you happier, it
activates all of the learning areas in the brain allowing you to
adapt to the world in a different way.
Shawn also gives us five simple ways in order to rewire and
train our brains into a more positive space. He said that results
can be seen after 21 days:
- 3 New Gratitudes: Find and write down three new things to be
- Journaling : Write down one positive experience you had during
your day. This helps your brain relive the scenario
- Exercise - Teaches your brain that behaviour matters
- Meditation - Gives your focus and get over cultural ADHD
- Random Acts of Kindness: Spread the circle of happiness in
small and incremental ways
Related to this and were two speakers at the recent Webstock
conference, Jenn Lim and Tony
Why should you sit up and take notice? From a business
perspective. Tony is a true entrepreneur. He started selling Pizza
at university. His next most notable achievement was the co-founder
of the advertising network LinkExchange which sold to Microsoft in 1999 for $265 million.
After that he co-founded Venture Frogs with Albert Lim and
invested in a variety of Tech Startups, one of which was was
Originally an online footwear store, Amazon bought Zappos for 1.2bn
in 2009, with Tony only selling on the condition that he would
remain and that the company culture would not be touched.
Zappos hires all of its employees not just based on their
qualification, but on their cultural fit for the company. Tony
believes that happy, culturally similar employees create a positive
working environment, which has been passed onto its customers
through positive experiences.
Tony also believes that companies need to be committed to their
core values, not just put them up as a plaque on the wall. Zappos
lives and breathes their core values and it shows. All of their
customers have come through via word of mouth.
- deliver wow through service
- embrace and drive change
- create fun and a little weirdness
- be adventurous creative, and open minded
- pursue growth and learning
- build open and honest relationships with communication
- be humble
- be passionate and determined
- do more with less
- build a positive team and family spirit
Commit to transparency
- be real and you have nothing to fear
- your culture is your brand
- don't try to be someone you are not
Zappos success story has driven Tony and Jenn to create an
initiative to teach other businesses the secret to improving their
businesses through positive psychology. His website http://www.deliveringhappiness.com/
can give people the resources to get started.
Tony and Jenn also talked about the primary framework that
people need in order to feel happy in their lives:
- perceived control: that you feel in control of your life
- perceived progress: that you are learning and growth
- connectedness: that you have supportive social networks,
friends and family
- vision/meaning: that you are being part of something bigger
During the past month I have been running a little experiment
and trying out some of Shawn Achors' techniques. I believe
that things are changing for the positive and I highly recommend
giving them a try. You've got nothing to lose and everything to
Some links especially for you.
Shawns TED talk (*must watch)
Another great TED talk by Dan Gilbert
tips & tricks