Is your glass half empty or half full? Do you see the murky gray cloud or the shimmering silver lining? Are you a happy person or a sad person?
You may think that the answers to these questions affect only your personal life, but according to Shawn Achor, CEO of Good Think, Inc. you’re wrong. Achor has spent more than a decade researching the science of happiness and he has discovered several interesting bits of knowledge.
Happiness Is a Choice
This does not ignore our basic brain chemistry. Some of us are pre-programmed to look for the negative first, last, and always. Achor sees happiness as a habit that can be developed, or a weak muscle that can be made strong with daily exercises.
We Have Single-Processor Brains
Our brains tend to believe and act upon what they see first. If the first thing they see is a negative, that impression sticks with them, and we respond as if the entire situation were distasteful. By the same token, a brain that first absorbs the positive won’t have the time or the space to process negative. The happy brain is an open, welcoming brain that can always see the best possible outcome.
Happy Brains and Sales
Achor’s research shows that a happy and engaged corporate culture can increase its productivity by 31%, its accuracy on difficult tasks by 19%, and its sales by a whopping 37%.
An optimistic, cheerful orientation can make tasks like cold calling and slowly working your way through the sales process much easier. Instead of thinking of cold calling as a nuisance, for instance, you might come to view it as an opportunity to help the person you’re contacting and make his or her life better. By the same token, you might view a long sales process as your chance to build a rapport with the potential customer.
But My Company Is Not a Happy Place…
More and more employers are realizing the benefits of enacting policies and trainings that encourage employee happiness. If your employer hasn’t yet jumped on the bandwagon, though, it doesn’t mean that you are doomed to misery. You could find a job at a firm that is more dedicated to teaching employees to look for the good in every situation.
You could also use simple mental exercise techniques to train yourself to be a happier person. This is actually the better of the two options; whether you work for the best boss in the world or the worst, the decision to face each day with happiness and optimism is a personal one.
You can read more information about Shawn Achor’s work and his exercises to help grow your “happy muscle” at http://edition.cnn.com/2012/