From a young school age we’re told that if we work hard and perform well, we’ll be more successful. And if we are successful, then we’ll be happy. But that’s backwards. The real truth is that we need happiness first.
A happy brain performs better and breeds success. When we’re happy, we are more productive, higher performing and more successful. We’re not talking about the ‘everything-is-sunshine-and-roses’ sort of happiness, which is often contrived and unrealistic. Rational optimism, on the other hand, is authentic and one of the fundamental concepts of positive psychology.
Look On The Bright Side
Rational optimism begins by knowing the reality of your situation, then seeks to change the way you look at your work by focusing on the good, the strengths, the positives and not the bad, the weaknesses or the negatives.
When we’re positive, we think bigger and are more resourceful. We look at more alternatives and are more willing to look at other points of view on a situation. Our performance is therefore better when we’re positive because we have a greater urge to create, learn, relate, help, grow and achieve.
But the best part about this theory is that even simple little things – a kind word, a smile, a random act of kindness – can help to quickly change your brain and rewire it.
Create Happy Habits That Stick
Do you need to help yourself be happier? Try starting each work day by writing down three things you’re grateful for. This will actually change the way in which your brain looks at the challenges you’re about to deal with. Do this every day for 21 days, build a habit, and see your satisfaction grow.
Alternatively, are you a manager? Try making your team happier and see how it impacts their productivity. In one test, managers increased their praise and recognition of one employee, once a day, for 21 business days in a row. After only six months, that employee had a 31 per cent higher level of productivity over other employees who had not received the recognition. Cool.
Small Habits Grow
If you develop healthy, happy habits that start off as small, manageable tasks, you will not only experience short-term bursts of joy but the foundation of long-term skills.