Flexing Your Happiness Muscle to Achieve a Competitive Advantage
In today’s fast-paced world of competitive workplaces and turbulent economic and social conditions, many of us are in near-constant search for effective tools to help us manage, adapt, and strike out ahead of the pack.
Harnessing the skills to flex your happiness muscle is one such tool, especially when it comes to competitive advantages.
Joy is an art as much as it is neuroscience. To understand and nurture your happiness muscle is to change the game entirely. Not only does it actively encourage growth — it also adds pleasure to everyday, mundane happenings in your life. According to research, people who are happier tend to live longer, have a healthier social life, and be more productive. They’re also much better at dealing with stressful situations.
As if that wasn’t enough, happier people have also been shown to be inventive, innovative, and better at visualizing and conceptualizing the Big Picture.
So, how can we incorporate more happiness into our lives?
Here are five tips that you can implement to flex your happiness muscle.
[Related: Spring Clean Your Life]
Tip #1: Let’s start off with something simple, but perhaps not all that easy. Even though it doesn’t sound very tough, it’s one of the hardest things you must do in order to initiate your happiness journey.
Make the choice to be happy. Commit to it wholeheartedly.
Once you start putting in the work every day, you’ll be surprised at just how easy it is to choose to be happy.
Tip #2: Happiness is multidimensional. Essentially, there are three things in life that have a direct impact on our ability to experience happiness, known as The Happiness Tripod:
- Your mindset.
- Your professional growth and development.
- Your health and wellness.
In order to be happy, all three must work in tandem; otherwise, your lifestyle becomes unsustainable.
Imagine this: You love your job, but you love it to the point of being a workaholic. Being a workaholic makes you tired, stressed, and irritable all the time. Being irritable makes your life miserable. If you want to maximize your happiness potential, pay attention to all three legs of the tool. If you don’t, you’ll never know what you’re missing out on.
Tip #3: Manage your personal energy well. Have you ever found yourself focusing so hard on a task that you turn into a mindless zombie? Maybe you’ve been so absorbed in your work that you go an entire day without having a bite to eat, or a sip of water.
Admittedly, it’s easy to get lost in whatever we’re doing these days. But that doesn’t mean it’s a healthy habit. Figure out what your key distractions are, and how you can keep them at bay. Try to find ways to remove these interruptions and see how your productivity skyrockets.
Being productive and developing a well of positive energy is a skill that will teach you how to find joy in the present moment, and make you much better at time management than you ever thought possible. It also allows you the privilege of seeing the little things that you normally would have missed.
During the height of COVID-19 restrictions, many people took up the habit of taking walks as a way to deal with being cooped up inside their homes. However, how many of us can honestly say that during those walks, we were fully present in the moment? Rather than noticing the beauty of nature around us, several of us continued to be hyper-focused on our stresses, frustrations, and negative thoughts, missing out on much of the once-in-a-lifetime Kodak moments around us.
Tip #4: Find your power. Some call it mojo, others call it energy, but what matters is finding it within you. Once you’ve found out where you draw your power from, you become unstoppable. Your physical, mental, and emotional health and wellbeing becomes noticeably better, and without realizing it, you start to become highly effective, successful, and overwhelmingly happy.
There are three types of people in this world:
- Mojo Makers: These are people who light up any room they walk in. They’re inspirational, and people love being around them.
- Middle Roaders: For them, life is good, but it could be better. They go through the motions, envying others, but don’t make any attempt to better themselves.
- Energy Zappers: These individuals manage to find fault in everything in life: Nothing is ever good enough for them, and they’ll make sure everyone knows it.
Do you see yourself in this list? Who do you think you are, and who do you aspire to become?
If you want to work towards becoming a Mojo Maker, here are some key skills you can strengthen:
- Live in the moment and surround yourself with laughter and play.
- Accept that there are always going to be things that are out of your control.
- Live, work, and play with a growth mindset.
Tip #5: Surround yourself with people and organizations that bring value to your life. At their core, most people want to have a community and support system that encourages their growth.
When was the last time you were in the kind of bad mood where you wanted to be alone, lock yourself in your room, and not talk to anyone?
The reality is, these are the times when having a community is more important than ever. Why not surround yourself with the kind of people who will bring you out of your bad moods, uplift you, and encourage you to find the bright side?
The right friends and the right communities add a lot of value to your life, whether you can see it or not. These are just some of the tips that you can use to improve your life, flex your happiness muscle, and achieve a competitive advantage.
Happiness starts with you. When we decide to feel happy internally, it has a ripple impact on our outer experience.
Peggy Sullivan is a women’s leadership speaker, mindset expert, and founder of the nonprofit organization, SheCAN!. She is also the author of the book, "Happiness is Your Responsibility." Peggy is a strong advocate of empowering women to succeed through supporting each other. She has won numerous awards and honors, including the 2019 Woman in Leadership Award from New York State. She has presented and consulted worldwide for organizations such as Bank of America, Blue Cross BlueShield, Ingram Micro, and WomanUp Conferences. You can connect with Peggy on Instagram and LinkedIn, and purchase “Happiness is Your Responsibility” on Peggy’s website.
Saleema Vellani is the Founder and CEO of Ripple Impact, which is an accelerator and community for entrepreneurs who are seeking to grow their platforms and businesses. She is also an Adjunct Professor at University Startups for Social Entrepreneurship and teaches Design Thinking and Entrepreneurship at Johns Hopkins University. Saleema is a global keynote speaker, a TEDx speaker, and the author of Innovation Starts With I, which aims to redefine innovation. Sign up for her free biweekly newsletter and follow her on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.
Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.
Johns Hopkins University
Professor of Design Thinking and Entrepreneurship
Saleema Vellani is the Co-Founder and COO of Innovazing, which is an education and leadership development firm that strives to help organizations cultivate more impactful leaders. Innovazing uses emotional intelligence tools and techniques, based on neuroscience, in its highly customized programs for social enterprises, nonprofits, higher education, Fortune 500 companies, and government agencies. Aside from launching 5 fast-growing ventures across 4 countries, she has also provided consulting for over 12 years to a wide spectrum... Continue Reading
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