New Harvard research reveals fun way to be more successful

Instead of removing those weird people from the data, we are studying them intentionally. We try to find out why, when a sales force has a low return, we find three or four people whose sales are skyrocketing. Or we look at a Chicago socio-economic school, where the academic results are below average, there are some students whose grades are skyrocketing. By studying these outliers, we seek information not on how to evolve the subparitors towards this average point, but on how to move people from average to superior.

Shawn believes (and his research shows) that you can do things to be happier. And being happier will make you happier.

I called Shawn to find out what he had learned. Do you want more joy and success in your life? This is what Shawn has to say.

1) Success brings happiness? Happiness brings success.

We all pursue success and hope that it will make us happy:

1. I will be happy once I have this promotion.

2. I will be happy once I have this increase.

3. I will be happy once I lose 10 kg

But research shows that this is not true. You reach a goal and you are briefly happier … but then you are looking for something else.

What Shawn’s research has shown is that when you return the formula and focus on increasing happiness, you get more success.

This is Shawn:

If we can get someone to raise their level of optimism or deepen their social bond or raise their level of happiness, it turns out that every business and education result for which we know how to do tests ‘improves considerably. You can increase your success rates for the rest of your life and your happiness level will be stable, but if you increase your level of happiness and optimism, it turns out that each of your success rates increases significantly compared to he had been negative, neutral or stressed.

MET Life has seen such good results among the happy salespeople they’ve experienced: they started hiring people based on optimism.

And even if these people had poor results on the standard “aptitude test” of the industry. What was the result?

It turns out that the optimistic group outperformed its more pessimistic counterparts by 19% in the first year and by 57% in the second year.

How is it possible?

Shawn explained that intelligence and technical skills predict only 25% of success:

If we know the intelligence and technical skills of an employee, we can only predict about 25% of his success at work. 75% of long-term career success is predicted not by intelligence and technical skills, which is normally the way we hire, educate and train, but is predicted by three other things.

It’s optimism (which is the belief that your behavior counts in the middle of the challenge), your social connection (whether or not you have the depth and breadth of your social relationships), and the way you perceive the relationship. stress.

And students who want to succeed in their future should worry a little less about grades and more optimism.

2) See the problems as challenges, not as threats

Shawn did a study on bankers right after the huge banking crisis. Most of them were incredibly stressed. But some were happy and resilient.

What do these men have in common? They did not see problems as threats, they saw them as challenges to overcome.

This is Shawn:

What these outliers say is that when there are changes in the economic landscape or in the political landscape or in an educational institution, they see these changes not as threats, but as as challenges.

So these people are just wired differently and we should envy them, right? No. Shawn had an experience that proved that this attitude can be learned.

Just by showing normal bankers a video that explains how to see stress as a challenge, he turned sad bankers into super-bankers.

This is Shawn:

We observed these groups of people over the next three to six weeks and found that if we could get people to think of stress as an improvement, a challenge rather than a threat, we saw a 23% drop their stress. This has produced a significant increase not only in the level of happiness, but also a dramatic improvement in their level of commitment to work.

(To find out more about what the happiest people do every day, click here.)

But what to do when there is too much to overcome? Maybe there are more “challenges” than what you can handle.

Should we just give up any chance of balancing work and personal life? Cancel our plans with friends and spend more hours at the office?

Again, the answer is exactly the opposite.

3) Twice as much work means you need twice as many friends

After completing his undergraduate degree at Harvard, Shawn was a supervisor there, helping freshmen adapt to the often stressful and competitive environment.

Many students responded to the workload by living in the library and eating meals in their bedrooms so they could continue to study.

Have these students had better results? No. These are the ones who eventually want to be transferred to another school.

This is Shawn:

The people who survive the stress better are those who actually increase their social investments in the midst of stress, which is the opposite of what most of us do.

It turns out that social connection is the greatest predictor of the happiness we have when I lead them in my studies. When we conduct social support measures, they surpass everything we do, every time.

And what did we learn about happiness? He predicts success. And it was not different here:

We found that social connection is extremely important in predicting academic success.

Want to resist stress, increase productivity and get promoted? So do not just look for social support, give it to others.

Confirming the search for Wharton’s best teacher, Adam Grant, people who offer social support get some of the greatest benefits.

Shawn saw this not only with his students at Harvard, but he has since advised more than a third of the Fortune 100 companies, and it worked there too.

This is Shawn:

Altruists at work were ten times more likely to be hired than the lowest quartile on this list, and the top quartile was significantly happier and 40% more likely to be promoted in the next two years.

Some of you might think, “Okay, happiness makes you happier. I understood. But how can I become happier? “

It’s easier than you think.

4) Send a thank you email every morning

You might think that happiness comes only from big wins or great achievements. You are wrong . Research shows that small things are more important.

So Shawn believes that instead of focusing on the big things that motivate you like vacations, it’s smarter to create small, consistent habits that are like brushing your teeth.

What little habit gives a great motivation over time? Send an email or thank you message of 2 minutes upon your arrival at the office.

This is Shawn:

The simplest thing to do is a two-minute email congratulating or thanking a person you know. We did it on Facebook, at US Foods, we did it at Microsoft. We asked them to write a two-minute email to thank someone they know and a different person every day for 21 days in a row. That’s all. This greatly increases their social connection which is the greatest predictor of happiness that we have in organizations. It also improves teamwork. We have measured the collective IQ of teams and the collective years of team experience, but these two parameters are exceeded by social cohesion.

What other small daily habits of happiness does Shawn recommend?

1. List the things you are grateful for.

2. Meditate.

3. Exercise.

5) The 20 second rule

What’s stopping you from making the changes you know you need to do? Shawn says it’s “activation energy”.

You know, like the activation energy needed to get your butt out of the couch to the gym. The most difficult thing is to start.

If you reduce the amount of activation energy required, difficult things become easy.

Shawn slept in his sportswear and put his sneakers next to the bed, which made him much more likely to exercise when he woke up.

This is Shawn:

If you can make the positive habit three to 20 seconds easier to start, your probability of doing so increases dramatically. And you can do the same thing for negative habits. You watch too much television? Simply remove the batteries from the remote control by creating a delay of 20 seconds and this will dramatically decrease the amount of television that people will watch.


Here’s what we can all remember from Shawn:

1. Success does not bring happiness. Happiness brings success.

2. See problems as challenges, not threats.

3. More work means you need more social support. And providing support is better than receiving.

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