Happiness is a Work Ethic

“The single greatest competitive advantage in the modern economy is a positive and engaged workforce. That is not conjecture. That is now a confirmed scientific fact.”

—Shawn Achor, positive psychology expert

At PQC, we find Shawn Achor’s “The Happiness Advantage” incredibly interesting and have worked to instill some of its values into our everyday lives. There are a couple of key ideas we want to highlight today.

The Happiness Advantage Idea #1: Happiness drives success in almost all domains of life, including work.

Waiting to be happy “someday”—once success is achieved—short-circuits vital happiness energy that can fuel success today. Timing can be everything in life—work, too—but with happiness the best time to start is right now. So, here is a new mantra for you: “Don’t wait. Be happy.” The success will follow.

A field of yellow marigold flowers.
Image courtesy of foto76 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

The Happiness Advantage Idea #2: Happiness is a work ethic.

Achor insists, as most positivity experts do, that happiness is not simply a mood—capricious, passing and essentially out of our control. Instead, happiness can be cultivated just like a bountiful flower garden. With work, skill and deliberate effort, the garden grows. Plant some seedlings of positivity like recognition, fertilize with some gratitude, water with small wins, and watch the whole thing evolve. Bring the bright-colored harvest in and take the weeds out.

As we work with clients, helping them plant and grow happy employees and workplaces, we keep the idea that “happiness is a work ethic” in mind at all times. It’s fun to watch people and places blossom as happiness techniques and skills are applied.

Here’s a brief word of warning, though: If you are one of the skeptics who thinks that happiness may make work life more enjoyable but surely can’t actually lead to a real, measurable competitive advantage, think again. The evidence points to the plain and simple fact that happy workplaces are more creative, innovative and productive. So go ahead and get on with the business of practicing happiness as a work ethic.

Is your organization focused on the happiness of the organization, the individual or both? Do you see a value in encouraging happiness at work and at home?

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