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Is there really any advantage to being Mr. Happy Pants?

I am reading a book about being happy.

Go on. Really?

Well, it’s actually a book about the effectiveness of positive thinking. I know what you’re thinking……

…….I actually don’t so I won’t even go there.

To be perfectly honest I can’t remember how I came across this book in the first place. The only thing I can say is its serendipity.

It looked compelling so I immediately checked out the bio of the author Shawn Achor and after poking around a bit on-line I decided it would be a worthwhile read. Why not? What’s the harm in a little coaching on positive thinking? The book, The Happiness Advantage, explores the notion that happiness, in whatever form you find it, creates opportunity in your life enhancing your ability to achieve your brand of success.

There are no foolproof answers in this book for success.

I think that’s what drew me to it.

There are tips and techniques to show you the impact of a positive mindset and what triggers, in daily life, we can recognize in order to maximize our potential whatever that potential may be.

I am not really reading this as a business book even though the first chapter is titled Happiness at Work. I am taking work to mean the action and not the noun. Regardless, many of the stories the author tells center on his time spent working with the corporate C-Suite demonstrating the advantages that can become a company when they themselves and their employees find happiness in life through positive actions and activity.

Who wouldn’t want boundless positivity where they work? I thought to myself and at the same time I actually said to myself: Duh?

Right? I mean, c’mon, treat people well, be happy and they will follow. Pretty damn obvious.

Sure, it’s obvious but I am reading it anyway.

Outside of the amazing statistical data there is very little in this book that is shocking or new at all yet I can’t seem to put it down. I catch myself nodding my head (yes) on almost every page.

Every.Damn.Page.

So, are you happy then?

Mr. Achor outlines some techniques or what he calls happiness principles which can put you in a better position to find the positive effects in the activities of your daily life. Some are easy to grasp. Some not so much but what is great about these techniques is that you don’t have to perfect them. It’s mostly a matter of recognition.

Common sense prevails and I read these principles in the same way.

So, am I happy I ask myself and as I read this book I realise that there many ways to define happiness. In fact, there are areas of my life where I am happier than others but what’s more important to me is the notion described in this book about the opportunity to change some very small things in my life to make others feel good.

To make others feel good.

Here’s the deal and it’s a big deal.

I have written the formula happy employees = happy clients many times in the past. I truly believe that and now I have some measurable techniques that I can use to see how I can impact my team. As a manager I can further impact how my team performs by using some of the simple tools and tips presented in this book. If I really think about it I have the opportunity to influence people’s behaviour on both sides of the organizational hierarchy.

I see this as a unique opportunity.

As I mentioned my belief has been that if your team is as happy as they can be the side effect of that will rub off on who they come in contact with; their peers, their superiors and their clients. It is certainly a win win situation, isn’t it?

It didn’t start out that way for me.

Okay, here he goes…….

It has only been in the last few years that I realised the benefit of focussing on the positive and the effect positivity has on you and the people around you. I struggle with this personally and have some skeletons that rattle around in that particular closet. At times the noise is loud enough to affect my manner but I have learned to change it, ignore those old bones and move on. The techniques in this book will certainly help me to recognize the triggers for these changes in mindset.

There are also some activities in the first chapter that anyone can easily do to help put you in a positive mindset. As I read the chapter I realized that most of these activities I don’t apply in my daily life.

How can that be?

One of those activities to help you change your mindset in The Happiness Advantage is working on one of your unique skills or exercising one of your signature strengths. One that you are good at, one that gets you up in the morning and one that feels good. One that challenged your to learn and to find satisfaction in the results you skill yields. Using this tool, in my mind, is the most important thing anyone can do. It just seems to have the most potency for me.

Mine is the love I have for creating content for this blog; writing, images and video.

I discovered this desire a mere 18 months ago and it has helped me immensely. It is cathartic to write ideas down and throw them out there. It simply feels good.

Over to you: What is your signature strength?

Think about it and please share it with yourself. If you want to tell me about it please do. I would love to know. I just think it’s cool to share your passion.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

About this Author: Ralph Dopping (195 Posts)

A quirky sense-o-humour coupled with an indelible sense of stylish sarcasm makes it difficult to take the world too seriously doesn't it? My faves: fun, passion and hard work. I work here everyday: www.designdialog.ca


26 comments
GeoffReiner
GeoffReiner

Ralph, awesome post and thanks for sharing your opinions on The Happiness Advantage. It's now made the cut and is on the list! To me, happiness is very subjective but isn't one of those things that needs to be carved in stone. It's all about getting in touch with how you feel right now. The more we get in touch with our passions and the root of our motivations, the more we can find happiness in the little things. Thanks again for sharing! 

ArleenH
ArleenH

I think it depends upon how you go through life. Being positive can be infectious to the people around you. I loved your comment ignore those old bones and move on. When you get hit with a disease and the only way to survive mentally is to pick yourself up by the bootstraps and face reality, it becomes life altering. Taking on other people's problems and having them feel sorry for themselves I am finding is not my problem. I pay my employees so well that if they were to leave and find another job, there is no way they would even come close to the salary. When I walk into the office and I hear them complaining about the customers, I try to remind them that the customers pay your salaries. Answer the phone with a smile and most people on the other end will respond. I have learned I can't fix other people's problem, I can only work on my own. Love reading your articles. Great picture of you it displays such a happy guy. It is a feel good picture

 

bdorman264
bdorman264

One of my moniker's, I am also known as Mr Happy. Not the sickingly over the top in your face first thing in the morning type of happy, but I'm a smiler. Can't help it, but it sure makes people around you smile too. I have so much to be thankful for, there is no reason for me not to be happy.

 

That's my story.

 

Shot a 92 from the back tees today (in shorts) and won $16....I was happy. 

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

I see your photo. You are not happy Sir. I see a face of someone being tickled against their will.

wonderoftech
wonderoftech

Love the title! Yes, happiness is over rated. I just read on someone's blog that achieving Zen is great and all but would you rather have your house built by Zen masters or construction workers?

 

It's probably the same with employees. You want them a little hungry, right? If they're perfectly content with their lot in life will they really try their hardest?

 

Where would Van Gogh have been if he had therapy instead of angst? 

 

What if our kids were content with C's? Would we be proud parents?

Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes
Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes

Overall I think I am a happy guy who enjoys life. There have been many moments where I felt like someone kicked me in the teeth and was frustrated because some things were out of my control and I couldn't fix them.

 

But once I accepted that I couldn't fix them and could focus on me, well life got easier. Doesn't mean I am always happy, but most of the time I feel pretty good because I know I am on my way to where I am going.

 

My signature strength is I am a Taurus- we are grounded and able to do more than just take what comes.

AlaskaChickBlog
AlaskaChickBlog

Ralph! (LOL) I do like this post a lot, thank you, I am an addicted reader. I tend to devour books. Lately I have noticed posts talking about "reading 100 books this year..." and similar and I just shake my head... I read over 300 books last year and I have cut down so much on my own reading time (MAJOR CUT) that it is simply unheard of to most people. I have always been like that, have always been able to and 14 year old son is the same, I can't afford us both! To this post and book (which by the way, I have not read but have now ordered!)... I can't wait to read it. I also love the books that get the "nod" as I am reading. I am not naturally a laughing person, and really don't find humor in many of the places and things that amuse the masses. Am I happy? I am happier now than I have been... maybe ever, for most certainly longer. Between the people (which you are most certainly one of) that I have met over the last two years and the things that I have learned and am struggling to learn, I think I may very well be happier than I have ever been. Sharing our lives, through the website and blog, learning HOW to share, meet and connect all I have seen and learned is only one little piece. Meeting such amazing, caring, giving, smart people is another. Finding out how much I was capable of learning and doing is yet another piece of what has made me who I am today. (Bummer it took so long in my own life, to understand this...) But. What I believe has made ALL the difference in my happiness? Is the thought, every morning when I wake, that today, I may make a difference in someone's life. Thanks Ralph, for this.

DwayneAlicie
DwayneAlicie

Excellent!  I love books that get "the nod" almost every page --- Susan Cain's "Quiet: The Power of Introverts..." was like that for me. I also stand in admiration of your "happy employees = happy clients" equation and how this dovetails with it! I'm on a mission to experience happiness more in 2013 myself so this may have to be part of my program. Thanks!!!

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR

What is the big deal about "happy" these days? From happiness jars to stories on NPR about academics studying "happiness" for 20 years (who said that we're responsible for 40% of our happiness, actually).  

 

I am going to write about this, too. When someone asks me that question, I literally cringe. It's so relative. It's the Holy Grail. Is it attainable? You have to really, really work at being happy all day long. I think when I sit here alone in my lower level working all day, I am not smiling all the time, nor am I guffawing every 10 minutes. That's because I'm alone; so, can you be happier in an office setting where  you practice your happiness? 

 

Shoot. This week I've been in tears more than smiles; TECH issues still plaguing my new launch and new ones this morning. So, you caught me venting and asking and wondering and pondering (I like that word better). But, I do smile and laugh; A LOT. 

wwtks
wwtks

Don't tell my wife about this - she will probably buy a case of books and leave them strategically all over the house! I tell her that Scotsmen are meant to be grumpy I may have to read this one after I get through Seth Godin's new books and the new Daniel Pink I do think our world of hitting the numbers, being on quota and recessionary pressure could perhaps do with some basics like this I also believe that good design has a roll to play in supporting a happiness advantage in the workspace - I think it is one of the metrics with which good design should be measured but rarely is that connection made. Happy New Year Sir - your blog is cathartic for us too Thanks for what you share and all the best for 2013

barrettrossie
barrettrossie

Ralph, Erin Feldman and I been thinking a lot lately about what makes morale high at some companies and low in others. I love your Happy Employees = Happy Clients equation.

 

I like to think my signature strength is that I don't fool myself... but I'm not as sure about that as I used to be. :-) 

rdopping
rdopping moderator

 @rudee Well thank you for the compliment Rudee. I am always cautious about what I see and read on the interwebz until I get to know someone. It takes time and the gang that hangs around, er, stops by occasionally, here are a good bunch of people. I have learned that. The one thing I will always say is like attracts like.

 

Thanks for dropping by. Cheers!

rdopping
rdopping moderator

Wow Bill @bdorman264 a 92 from the tips? That's awesome. Hey, what else are you gonna do down there in FLA. Smilin' is what we would expect from you. Thanks for popping by and don't pay attention to that @howieg character. No #poopypants around these parts.

rdopping
rdopping moderator

@HowieG How dis you know that?

rdopping
rdopping moderator

Caroline  @wonderoftech I agree. Striving for the best is the way to go. I don't think the idea of being happy is about settling unless that's your thing. I personally don't know anyone that's like that (thank gawd). This book is more about looking for positives in life and acting on things that build positive outcomes.

 

There are many examples of beauty in the world that are a result of someone's suffering. The idea is that regardless of their station in life there is always something that we can find that is positive; like Van Gogh's paintings. Right?

 

And yes, construction worker and no Zen master. The right man for the job is very important.  

 

Cheers and thanks for the thoughts. Very interesting take on this subject.

rdopping
rdopping moderator

Taurus, huh? That's bull  @Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes ......hahahaha......;-)

 

I agree, you can't control what happens to others and how they will respond. You understand that so you are well on your way. Just as I mentioned to the good folks commenting here no one can be 100% anything; happy or not. It's important to me that I know that I can choose to look for the positives in the things in life instead of the other way around regardless of the situation.

 

Thanks for coming by and I do appreciate your comments Josh! Cheers!

rdopping
rdopping moderator

Thanks very much  @AlaskaChickBlog you are a wonderful person for saying what you do. Being honest and genuine goes a long way to a positive attitude which is what this is all about.

 

Being a happy person is a state of mind that is a bit of an enigma but what is attainable is a positive attitude toward life. You can choose to look for good things or not. It's really that simple. Finding the triggers that lead you down the right path is what this book shows you how to recognize. It really is a head nodder.

 

300 books. Holy cow! I mentioned to someone that I have to force myself to read a dozen books a year. Yikers!

 

Cheer lady! 

rdopping
rdopping moderator

Hi Dwayne  @dwaynealicie First off, thank you very much for visiting us and thank you for the comment. Appreciated. It's great when you identify with a book like that, huh? It can only mean that your mindset is in the right place. I haven't read Susan's book and I actually made reference to it (in kind of a subversive way) in this post http://theviewfromhere.ca/2013/01/the-clog-vs-the-sock-does-collaboration-alone-yield-optimal-results/ about collaboration.

 

Personally, I think it takes many types of people to yield the best results. I am very liberal in my thinking that way. The best person has always been my attitude. When you have the best person then you likely have a happy person and the results can yield a better mousetrap. Highly simplified but generally true (at least in my mind). Cheers sir!

rdopping
rdopping moderator

 @timbo1973 You nailed it Tim. Being 100% happy is a myth or imbalance. This book is about having a positive attitude. It suggests that if we act and do things that lend themselves to positive outcomes. If we think about things in a positive manner and look for the positives in any situation then the likelyhood of something working out better is more likely. 

 

Does that make sense?

 

I am normally not a smiley kind of guy (regardless of my avatars) but I do try to find the good things in most situations. The notion is that no one is perfect. We are all intelligent to understand that we can't be 100% anything all the time.

 

Cheers Tim. Good to see you here! Have I said HNY to you? Hope it was great. 

rdopping
rdopping moderator

 @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing Hey Jayme, I think it's more about attitude. What this book demonstrates is that if you have a positive attitude then positive things are more likely to occur. It seems so logical to me. I am going to give it a try (consciously) and we will see where it goes.

 

We all have crappy days and moments and no one I know is always happy. That would be a serious imbalance in my books. 

 

I love your new site BTW. Cheers and have a great weekend!

rdopping
rdopping moderator

Cheers Bill! @wwtks That's such a great thought - tying the happiness advantage to good design and converting that to a place the builds on people's positivity. Very cool idea.

 

Seth Godin & Daniel Pink are great authors in their own right. I read The Dip and Drive last year which fit nicely into this book as well. Shawn Achor references Carol Dweck who wrote Mindset which is another book to dive into. I have a sense that you already have a growth mindset. Worth a read anyway. Very inspiring.

rdopping
rdopping moderator

Nobody's fool  @barrettrossie that's the way. I agree wholeheartedly. There are some pretty distinct things that build morale in my book the biggest one being autonomy but that's a whole other conversation. Cheers!

DwayneAlicie
DwayneAlicie

 @rdopping Thanks for being so welcoming and taking time to comment back! I hope you are having a phenomenal day.

 

Thanks for the referral -- I clicked through to read "The Clog vs. The Sock" and am thinking about it. I'm an introvert so I am quietly mulling it over!  (wink, wink)   It looks like it generated a great discussion already -- congrats on eliciting thoughts and comments!

 

Looking forward to reading more. And here's to the power of the positive!

DwayneAlicie
DwayneAlicie

 @rdopping   Similar here -- I think I generate my best ideas on my own. But it's definitely productive to get together with others and expand or contract around them!  You know, Susan Cain describes online idea generation as the most efficient and productive. Interesting!   I think the key (in business) is to create an environment where all the talent you have gathered around you are comfortable performing and communicating their ideas. 

 

So, for 2013, I am committing to do one thing a week that makes me happy!  Maybe that will even be just sitting and thinking positive thoughts, hokie as it may sound.  I should probably do that every *day* though, eh?

rdopping
rdopping moderator

 No worries @dwaynealicie Glad to engage. That's what it's all about after all. Well, for me anyway.

 

Yeah, the clog and sock. I am a bit torn as I love my own time for generating ideas. I need to be alone but I also appreciate the intrinsic value in sharing those ideas to make them better. I might be one of those half and half types (intovert/exrovert) leaning toward the intro side.

 

When I was a kid I palyed a lot on my own which is where I likely got my intro tendancies from. Who knows. Cheers!

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  1. [...] everywhere you look and listen, someone is talking about studies on happiness at academic levels, about books they’re reading, about happiness jars they’re creating, and the love they have for their fellow [...]

  2. [...] then just choose some that you feel reflect what the business stands for and why it exists. If you love where you work, if you look forward to going to work most days, very likely you’re working for a business that [...]