Everyone’s brain has a special circuit for enjoyment, pleasure and euphoria. Let’s call it a happiness circuit. And literally hundreds of research studies have shown that, provided nothing gets in the way, like shoddy tools and equipment or a boss you hate or a dull-as-dishwater job, when your happiness circuit is firing, you do a good job at whatever you’re doing. Happy people are also more creative and solve problems better and more easily. Happy people even live longer.
It makes sense, then, to light up your happiness circuit. Money can buy a lot of things but it doesn’t fire up your happiness circuit, at least not for long. Being smart, according to research, doesn’t make you happier either. Even being young doesn’t make you happier. (In fact, research shows that older people are generally more satisfied with their lives than younger people.)
So we can put money, brains and youth to one side. Let’s talk about Aristotle instead. He believed that happiness comes from what you do, as in, for instance, good deeds and making the most of the possibilities open to you. That means you can take control of how happy you are, or at least the 50 per cent that isn’t down to your genes. Even if your genes dispose you towards gloominess rather than gladness, you can still ramp up your brain’s happy circuit.
What you do, what you think, how you view the world around you and how you respond to life’s events can either light up your happiness circuit or damp it down. So pay attention to what you do and how you do it. Pay attention to your thoughts. Pay attention to how you respond to events. Make sure you’re lighting up your happiness circuit for better performance.
To help the people in your work team perform better, talk about what they can do to light up their own happiness circuits. Develop a team culture that includes praise, thanks and consideration. Take time to have some fun while you work together and share a laugh. When someone achieves a goal or does something to boost the team’s morale, make it a ‘high five’ moment.
The happier you and your team are, the better you can perform – together and individually.