Secrets to the “Happiness Advantage” at Work

Posted on January 11, 2016 by Dr. Lynda

I wish I could tell you today’s EWC video-share righted all wrongs in the world… but no, it doesn’t. But here’s what it did: it made me laugh, a lot (this is a really funny talk), it inspired me to take a whole new perspective at work, and gave me the tools to use “the happiness advantage.”

Image: Thistle flower represents happiness in the thorns from a TED talk.

First a little thought experiment: the previous photo is a flower most of us have seen many times and most would agree it is intricately beautiful. Know what it is?

I suspect you do, but never looked at this plant with this particular perspective. It’s a thistle! Wait, that’s a thorny weed, isn’t it?  Yes, that’s the kind of shift we might need to make our working lives richer. And it can be done!

Image: Many telephone poles close together, each with a man at the top working.

Next: here’s a video-share from the earliest days of I love it more every time I see it.

Take a look at Shawn Anchor’s TED Talk “The Happy Secret to Better Work” and you’ll know why the happiness advantage is so important…

(Fasten your seat belts, and turn off every distraction. Shawn talks very, very fast and almost every sentence is a gem.)

Via: TED 1

As Mr. Anchor notes, studies have shown that the tribulation of our external world only influence our happiness by 10%. How can that be!?Then he reminds us that the science of happiness shows the way our brains process the world around us is the key to happiness and we can change that!Do you see stress as a challenge or a threat?What’s your formula for happiness and success?

Is your definition of success on the other side of the horizon? Are you constantly telling yourself “I’ll be happy when….”

Image: Shawn Anchor's Unicorn on Happiness

What about the “happiness advantage” Mr. Anchor has studied. What if we were happier first? He’s found we would be

  • more intelligent
  • more creative
  • faster
  • 30% more productive
  • 37% better at sales
  • etc…etc…

Best of all, no matter where you are starting on this, remember that the brain can be rewired and it takes 21 consecutive days to get there.

First, I strongly recommend you watch the video a couple times to really take it all in. He is talking so fast, and throwing so many great insights at us, I found myself missing things while thinking about some particular point he made.

Here are the crib notes on Shawn’s recommendations:

  1. Write down three things you’re grateful for every morning and carry that scrap of paper all day long, glancing at it when stressed. (Dr. Chuck my co-founder has been doing this for a week and he mentioned last night that it is a game changer.)
  2. The body and mind work best when each is in top form. Try starting your day with 5 minutes of stretches or simple exercises in your living room, a few trips up and down the stairs, or start with a brisk walk, then exercise a little more each week. Don’t be a hero. Start small.
  3. Anchor reminds us to just send one nice email a day to a co-worker, family member, friend, local business you appreciate, etc. and tell them how much you appreciated something nice they did, said, and so on. Random acts of kindness create the most extraordinary ripples outward. (I have personally done this for a couple decades and I can tell you it may be the most important part of the recipe!)


And what about all that craziness in our lives and at work? It’s not going away!

The Happiness Advantage

For that I have two small sayings that might be helpful:

  1. When I’m low, I’ve trained myself to mutter “no feeling lasts forever”, and then I get busy. Time passes and if the negative feeling starts to engulf me again, I repeat the pattern: “no feeling lasts forever”, and then I get busy. Eventually, I find that’s true, I feel completely different, and carry on more contentedly!
  2. I constantly ask myself “where is the opportunity in this situation?” Almost every disappointing situation has a window of opportunity if we will lift our heads up and take a look from a different perspective. This is difficult at first because we are so good at telling ourselves negative stories. But you can grow this habit, and you can discipline yourself to be constantly scanning the horizon for the positive first. (Most of us do the opposite.)

Image: Flower facing up for the Happiness advantageWe love the people in our lives to tend to be happy despite their circumstances. We can be that guy or gal in our circle of friends and co-workers in a few weeks!

Give it a try and let us know how it goes on our Contact Us page.

If you’d like to learn more about the problem of the stories we are constantly telling ourselves, check out another of my most favorite short TED Talks in our article called What Fear Can Teach Us.

That one has a jaw-dropping insight that we use almost every day in our business and personal lives. Enjoy!


Scroll down to see six more articles proving “it’s still an amazing world,” or head to our homepage to check out our latest articles, circles, and archives! Even better, subscribe below to receive the latest from EWC right to your inbox!

Make it a great day! Stay open, curious and hopeful.

~ Dr. Lynda