Why do we work so hard and get so little in return? Sure, we may be paid well for the work we do, and we may enjoy our co-workers and the work itself. But for most of us, we work harder and longer hours than ever before, believing that by doing so, we’ll find the happiness and success we want in our lives.
According to Emma Seppala—science director for Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education—working harder and longer hours will not necessarily make you happy or successful. In fact, hundreds of neuroscience and psychology studies suggest that the opposite is often the case. The key is to find happiness first. When you’re happy, then you’ll find the success you’re looking for.
In her book, The Happiness Track: How to Apply the Science of Happiness to Accelerate Your Success, Emma says, “Happiness—defined as a state of heightened positive emotion—has a profound positive effect on our professional and personal lives. It increases our emotional and social intelligence, boosts our productivity, and heightens our influence over peers and colleagues.”
Here, according to Emma, are seven scientifically-proven ways you can build your happiness—and become more successful as a result.
1. Live (or Work) in the Moment
Instead of always thinking about what’s next on your to-do list, focus on the task or conversation at hand. You will become not only more productive but also more charismatic.
2. Tap Into Your Resilience
Instead of living in overdrive, train your nervous system to bounce back from setbacks. You will naturally reduce stress and thrive in the face of difficulties and challenges.
3. Manage Your Energy
Instead of engaging in states of mind that exhaust you, learn to manage your stamina by remaining calm and centered. You’ll be able to save precious mental energy for the tasks that need it most.
4. Do Nothing
Instead of spending all your time focused intently on your work, make time for idleness, fun, and irrelevant interests. You will become more creative and innovative and will be more likely to come up with breakthrough ideas.
5. Be Good to Yourself
Instead of being self-critical, be compassionate with yourself. You will improve your ability to excel in the face of challenge and be more likely to learn from mistakes.
6. Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
We tend to think we’re good at only certain things, and we play it safe when we should be taking risks. Understand that your brain is built to learn new things—that’s how we attain new skills and expertise.
7. Show Compassion to Others
Instead of focusing on yourself, express compassion to and show interest in those around you, and maintain supportive relationships with your co-workers, boss, and employees. You will dramatically increase the loyalty and commitment of your colleagues and employees, thereby improving productivity, performance, and influence.
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