Happiness is the Key To Success

Sunday, 15 November 2015 17:03
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Keep your nose to the grindstone. Work hard and you'll be a success. Then, you will be happy. Something's fundamentally wrong with this thinking.

Curious to learn more? Read on, dear friends...

Happiness is the Key to Success

This week, I attended the Ohio University Schey Centre's Annual Sales Symposium. I was graciously extended an invitation by the Center's Executive Director Dr. Adam Rapp, who chaired the event.

During the day, corporate professionals, students, faculty and other visitors were treated to a series of dynamic and powerful talks on Leadership. One in particular struck me.

Avery Pantaleano, a junior, was one of 3 student speakers who had won an OU TED Talk competition. His presentation was entitled, "Happiness is the Key to Success". Wait...isn't that backwards? Umm...actually, no it isn't, according to Avery. We've just been looking at it the wrong way all of these years (oh, those Millennials!).

It's not a new idea. German theologian Albert Schweitzer was quoted as saying: "Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful".

So, while the idea is not necessarily new, Avery strengthened the case for it. In his presentation, he challenged the long ingrained paradigm that Baby Boomers (like me) have historically embraced: hard work and sacrifice will enable us to achieve and ascend the corporate ladder, which in turn should translate to the success we each seek. This success will enable each of us to be happy...at last. The only problem with this model is that success can be elusive, and therefore, so can happiness.

In contrast to this "conventional wisdom", Avery's thesis is that if we approach our lives and careers with a positive attitude and choose to be happy and satisfied in what we are doing, we will be more successful than those who approach these things with steely (and unhappy) resolve.

Avery cited data based on significant amounts of research on this topic over the past decade. The research has shown that "happiness raises nearly every business and educational outcome: raising sales by 37%, productivity by 31%, and accuracy on tasks by 19%, as well as a myriad of health and quality-of-life improvements."

This research is in part, responsible for increased interest by corporations in seeking to increase and enhance employee engagement. Researcher Shawn Achor believes that "the single greatest advantage in the modern economy is a happy and engaged workforce".

On a personal level, I know that Avery's message is true. What do you think?

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