Prioritizing happiness to create higher performance

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Shawn Achor presents a compelling story of a condition that is systemic in most professional circles – happiness comes after success. Stay focused, work harder and eventually you will have success and then you will be happy – of course not! The challenge is that success is relative and as we achieve our world view changes raising the bar on what constituents achievement. What is inspiring about Achor’s talk – there are a few things, but lets focus on one – is the process of changing how we see the world to create happiness producing better outcomes.

Want to create this kind of lasting change so you focus on the positive, relive the best moments, learn that behavior matters, focus and spread the joy? Check out Shawn’s slide with references below or listen to him yourself.

TEDxBloomington Shawn Achor May2011 - Creating lasting positive change
TEDxBloomington Shawn Achor May2011 – Creating lasting positive change

I am a big believer that our limitations are defined within us, which means they can be changed and this perspective is apparently shared. One key to high performance is rising above the generic noise of the various cultures we bridge, recognizing the messages for what they are and redefining the experience to encode a happier, healthier sound track.

It is challenging to embrace this kind of focus since we often fear the consequences. For example, you might find out that your work doesn’t make you happy and to resolve it you need to find other work. That is a detriment to the organization you work for since if you just kept moving your output, while not at its full potential, is greater than your absence. Success is often thought of as closing the deal or achieving a metric. Doing things that don’t obvious link to those outcomes makes it hard to prioritize the right things – it plagues competitive cultures and it is in the face of that stress that leadership prevails. Great leaders cultivate happiness despite adverse contexts. They create a climate where how things are done is as important as achieving the outcome, where doing the right thing disperses ridicule and success is greater than the individual – ultimately unpredictable.