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Why Getting a Raise Won't Make You Happy

Posted by Insightlink on 04/29/15

What if Employee Engagement became the norm and no longer the goal? 

Research shows success does not bring happiness. Happiness brings success.

We all chase happiness. We all think we’ll be happy when we get that promotion, happy once we get that raise….Stop for a minute and think about how you feel while you are chasing those goals and what price you may be paying physically, emotionally or socially to achieve whatever we define as success. Some of us are chasing goals with so much discipline and drive we become fiercely determined, potentially causing real self-harm because we may eat poorly, get little sleep, pull excessive overtime at work, ignore family and friends, all to prove we deserve the next promotion because that is the goal. Research has shown, though, that getting the promotion only makes us feel happy for a short time until we find another loftier goal to pursue. We become like mice on a wheel spinning like crazy and going nowhere. Can that be considered living?

Shawn Anchor, author of The Happiness Advantage has developed a fascinating case for putting happiness first.
Anchor found that when you achieve a goal, you’re briefly happier… but then you’re looking toward the next big thing. That happy feeling doesn’t last. Anchor’s research showed that when you flip the formula and focus on increasing happiness instead of achieving the goal first, you end up increasing success.

“If we can get somebody to raise their levels of optimism or deepen their social connection or raise happiness, turns out every single business and educational outcome we know how to test for improves dramatically. You can increase your success rates for the rest of your life and your happiness levels will flatline, but if you raise your level of happiness and deepen optimism it turns out every single one of your success rates rises dramatically compared to what it would have been at negative, neutral, or stressed.”
Anchor uses MetLife as an example and their decision to experiment with hiring new employees. Instead of choosing candidates based on aptitude they chose people who were optimistic. It turns out that the optimistic group outsold their more pessimistic counterparts by 19% in year one and 57% in year two. In other words, attitude will determine your success not aptitude.

Here’s what we can all learn from Anchor:

1. Success doesn’t bring happiness. Happiness brings success.
           a. Your attitude has a huge impact on how successful you are.
2. See problems as challenges, not threats.
           b.Anchor proved that we are capable of learning new behavior so that we can see stress as a challenge and overcome it instead of seeing it as a threat.
3. More work means you need more social support. And giving support is better than receiving.
            c. The people who survive stress the best are the ones who actually increase their social investments in the middle of stress, which is the opposite of what most of us do.
4. Send a 2-minute “thank you” email every morning.
            d. Little things can make us happier than waiting for a big vacation. Anchor recommends developing little habits that will give a big boost to happiness levels over time.
5. Use the 20-second rule to build the habit.
            e. We resist change, so the goal is to get started by reducing the amount of time it takes to do something, so that over time it becomes easier. Make new habits 20 seconds                     easier to start, like putting your workout clothes beside your bed so you will be much more likely to exercise when you wake up.

Developing positive habits that allow us to interact with life in a more positive way will result in higher levels of success, lower levels of stress and higher levels of resilience. We do this by changing our mindset and changing our habits.

Imagine if all our co-workers (including senior management) came to work with an attitude change like this how much different work would be…..there would be positivism in every corner and employee engagement would become the norm and no longer the goal.

The complete article is available here.




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