Employee happiness linked to productivity and performance

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Published on March 13, 2012 with No Comments

Paul David Walker, a successful business advisor and author, has defined the seven steps anyone can take to be happier and more productive, something that a 20-year Gallup poll recently indicated has a powerful effect on companies’ bottom line.

The poll indicated that happier employees are significantly more engaged and productive. Walker has known this and helped companies generate billions of dollars with more engaged employees. Now, Gallup has proven this to be the case.

“Earlier studies have discovered that happiness and well-being are natural states of mind,” says Walker. “All types of suffering are simply conditioned responses to our thoughts. Thoughts that we repeat to ourselves detract us from insight and our natural feelings of joy, love and gratitude.”

When people repeat negative thoughts like “I’m not good enough,” or “this person is an idiot,” it contributes to poor moods and a cycle of negativity, according to Walker. Focus on such thoughts also keeps people from fully engaging in their lives.

Instead, Walker encourages people to think of themselves as athletes in “the zone”. The best athletes are able to perform at often miraculous levels because they’re completely engaged in the present and don’t waste energy on either distracting negative or delusional positive thinking.

When he leads executive teams at mid-sized and Fortune 500 companies, Walker shares seven important steps to cultivating greater happiness and well-being in themselves and their teams:

1. Thought is, at best, an approximation of reality. Until one knows this at a deep level, it is hard to find any true happiness. Believing one’s thoughts to be real is like eating the menu instead of the food.  Both are real, but there is no comparing the two experiences.

2. Take your thoughts lightly. Thought is both the greatest gift and the greatest curse to humanity. While thought has allowed humans to create great works of art and science, it has also defined and imprisoned those who allow it to define them. Those who learn to treat their thoughts lightly experience greater levels of well-being and engagement in life.

3. Pain is telling you to stop something. Pain is a warning sign that something is harmful, like the burn of a flame. Psychological pain has the same purpose, warning people that their thoughts are compromising their health. Practice interrupting thoughts to bring attention back to the present.

4. Let go of your thoughts. Patterns can be difficult to break, but it’s possible with practice. Notice both your negative and positive thoughts patterns and let them go.  Effective action starts with reality, not an approximation of reality.

5. Understand your road map into well-being and happiness. Keeping a “peak life experience” journal helps people to re-experience and learn their way back into their highest states of mind.

6. Be here now. Learning to be present makes it more likely for people to experience life instead of experiencing their thoughts about life. Thoughts about the past and the future are only approximations of reality. Living in the present is the secret.

7. There is no substitute for practice. Letting go of thoughts in the moment takes practice. Meditate, jog, walk or dance-anything to interrupt thought with some kind of practice. Holding onto positive or negative thoughts destroys happiness and wellbeing.

Sharing these tools with a company can be the first step in addressing the well-being issue that affects employee productivity. Practicing them on an individual basis can help company executives lead the way for a healthier, happier workplace and a healthier bottom line. 

Paul David Walker is the founder of Genius Stone Partners and the author of “Unleashing Genius: Leading Yourself, Teams and Corporations”.  He is also a successful business advisor to CEOs. For more information, visit www.pauldavidwalker.com.


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