Determination, tenacity and a strong work ethic are a few traits people often associate with success – but what about happiness?
The Walker Sands Book Club recently explored this idea with “The Happiness Track: How to Apply the Science of Happiness to Accelerate Your Success,” by Emma Seppälä. The book explains how traditional measures of success place emphasis on hard work but typically forget to address personal fulfillment, compassion, and mental well-being. The author explains that prioritizing happiness can actually boost productivity and improve the quality of your work.
Over the course of three discussions, our reading group found a number of connections between our day-to-day lives and themes emphasized in each chapter. For example, many of us noted how easy it is to get caught in a sea of meetings and emails, forgetting to be present and enjoy the little things. With help from “The Happiness Track,” we were able to identify areas in our personal and professional lives where we can make changes (both large and small) to improve our overall happiness and well-being.
Here are some of our favorite tips from “The Happiness Track”:
- Close your tabs and focus on one thing at a time. One of the most common habits our reading group discussed was our tendency to multitask, often with countless tabs open in our web browsers and our smartphones always nearby. Ironically, stepping out of overdrive can actually help improve your quality of work. Research shows that, when focusing on one thing at a time, people are better able to enter a “flow” state of increased calmness, imagination and productivity.
- Make time for meditation (or at least take a couple of deep breaths). To be honest, I was skeptical when I saw the title of chapter four, “Get more done by doing more of nothing.” But once I read about the physical and psychological benefits of meditation and mindfulness, I was ready to give it a go. Our reading group took a stab at meditation with Headspace, an app which helps users devote time to mindful breathing and stillness. Many of us had some difficulty completely unplugging from the outside world at first, but more seasoned meditators were able to explain the benefits they saw from prolonged mindfulness such as increased positivity and focus at work.
- Tap into your imagination and take risks. In public relations and digital marketing, creative ideas are crucial to standing out from the crowd. But many individuals tend to turn away from imagination and toward convention from childhood to adulthood. To inspire winning ideas, organizations need to embrace potential failure and take creative risks in the brainstorming process.
- Be compassionate to others and to yourself. Research shows that people who give back, whether to charity, their colleagues or their clients, are often happier and more successful. The author also emphasized that self-compassion is equally as important as giving back to others. Chances are, you’re your own worst critic; making a daily list of what you’re glad you accomplished and things you’re grateful for is an ideal way to exercise self-compassion embrace personal power.
Share your favorite moments from “The Happiness Track” with us on Twitter @WalkerSands!