Come on Get Happy !!

When you saw the title of this post it either made you smile or cringe.  Do you need to be “happy” at work? Heck, can you even be “happy” in HR ??

The cynics out there, many of whom are my dear friends, would be saying things like, “It’s not the 70’s again !!  This isn’t The Partridge Family !!”  Some people at work, and life in general, feel that making someone happy is imposing on their personal space or beliefs.  Others, refusing to be happy, come to work everyday in a dark mood while ominous dirge-like music plays in the background.  There are countless statistics that now show that most people want to leave their job for something else.  For some – ANYTHING else !!!

So, why am I going on and on about being happy?  It’s because I’m knee deep into a great new read called The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor.  It’s a fascinating book that hit at the right time.  The premise is counter to most of the history of the field of psychology and that is this . . . If you are happy, you’ll be successful.

Achor points out poignantly that all of us have been looking at this the other way around – When I get successful, I’ll be happy.  However, the research shows that people never feel they’re successful enough – ever.

So, what does this have to do with HR?  EVERYTHING !!!

Many HR people I know are miserable in what they do.  They are burdened by the reality that working with and dealing with people is rough.  There is no doubt about that.  But, you don’t have to be miserable.

One of my friends visited one of our franchise locations a few years ago when I just had joined LaRosa’s, Inc.  He asked the owner if he knew me and he said, “That’s the new HR guy isn’t it?  Man, what’s wrong with him?  He’s happy all the time !!”  Great isn’t it?  The owner and I know each other more now and he’s a great guy.  He still wonders how I can be happy and be in HR.

So, this week ask yourself . . . happy ??  I think Achor is dead on by his premise that a person needs to be genuinely positive before they’ll ever be successful.  What do you think ??


9 thoughts on “Come on Get Happy !!”

  1. Steve,

    Great post and I am looking forward to reading the book.

    “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” ~ Albert Schweitzer

  2. This is no longer hear-say, Shawn Achor has now scientifically proven that happy people are absolutely more successful. You can’t deny the empirical data and the numbers definitely do not lie. Glad you are enjoying the read Steve – it is one of my all-time FAV’s!!

  3. Kudos, Steve, for your embrace and advocacy of happiness. I’d heard several years ago of Shawn Achor’s work with happiness at Harvard and have come across it again in recent weeks. Our business culture generally doesn’t embrace happiness because its default, untested conclusion is that business is all seriousness, except when we’re on some sort of organizationally or personal winning roll. I find it personally a challenge to generate happiness. Seriousness is so much a part of my work mindset, exacerbated by my being one of the millions in the U.S. currently not working for money. Of course, we all have things that challenge a desire to be happy — issues regarding health, family, friends, money, responsibilities, constraints. Nonetheless, if we can muster valid reasons for genuine happiness and joy — and they are there — surely we’ll enjoy many benefits. A particular aid at work is when leaders at the enterprise level — like a Southwest Airlines, a Pike Place Fish or others or at the team level — imbue the culture with genuine happiness, so in fact you’re not going it alone. Thanks for the boost!

  4. Thanks, Steve! Being happy at work is such a challenge for so many of us because it’s not a cultural norm and as a result has sort of been driven out of our personal psyches. Shawn Achor and you issue a good invitation and challenge to buck the norm for good benefit. Folks like Southwest Airlines, Pike Place Fish and others show us the way. I’m working on that personally, I do hope many others are as well, particularly leaders, since they can shape their team and enterprise cultures to be happier, more joyful and more effective!

  5. From one happy guy to another; works for me! Thanks for sharing. I was once questioned by a co-worker if I was putting on an act, because I always smile. I have always found that people respond better to a request of certain work detail as long as they knew that I was working harder than they were AND when I made the request I would smile. Come on, get happy! P.S. when 5-years-old, we ‘rock’d the school bus to “I Think I Love You”. The bus driver laughted her butt off.

  6. Great article, I am going to read the book! Happiness , like positivity and negativity is contagious. If you approach life with a positive attitude (half full vs half empty) you will be a happier and more productive person in all aspects of your life .

    @ Robert- I had the priviledge of hearing the people from Pikes Place Fish speak at a meeting on The Fish Philosophy- it was great!

    Side note- I now have the Patridge Family song in my head.

  7. Steve, what a refreshing post! Thank you for the book reference. And, don’t we all like to work with happy people as well!

  8. Gosh, Steve…you, happy!?!? You are about the happiest guy I know and always bring a smile to my face! Thanks for sharing this at a time it was most needed. Think I’ll dig up that book! Enjoy your vacation!

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