happiness.

Girls just want to have fun...

Girls just want to have fun... But then so do guys too. And companies are waking up to the fact that a happy workplace, where you might even have fun, promotes creativity and productivity.

Happy and optimistic people are more likely:

• to be fulfilled

• have a healthier life

• have a better memory

• to be resilient

• to explore new opportunities and different ways of doing things

• to see the bigger picture

• to be better negotiators

• to be more creative

Isn't this a great prescription for being positive? And think of the ramifications for your organisation if you have people working for you who are like that.

We acknowledge that there will be times when we face challenges and periods of negativity, but it's how we address these setbacks which is important. It's what we learn about ourselves when confronted with adversity that makes us more resilient. Remember too that a successful and positive outcome is usually the result of hard work and meticulous preparation.

There were many speakers at the conference who addressed the issue of how to be happy and how to work towards positive outcomes. Barbara Fredrickson used the analogy of a yacht and a keel. The sail is visible on the surface, responding to winds, racing along effortlessly. Underneath, all the hard work is being done by the keel, as it steers, taking advantage of the currents and tides, to maintain the equilibrium above.

Hugh McKay , a social researcher, actually challenged the whole concept of happiness. His address was entitled "Is Happiness Beyond our Control?" He argued that "thinking positively is all very well - better than thinking negatively, no doubt. But thinking realistically has even more to commend it: to be realistic is to acknowledge that the richness of life lies in its contrasts, its light and shade, and in our capacity to experience and deal with the full spectrum of human emotions and responses."

And Barry Schwartz continued with this theme. His book, "The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less" highlights how the multitude of choices we have in the developed world can exacerbate unhappiness. We go to the supermarket and have to choose between different teas, cereals, biscuits...the list goes on. We have to choose between a beach side holiday; a walking trek; a cultural tour of European cities. High class problems, but still a tyranny of choices.

So how do you relate this to your workplace, to ensure the best outcome? As the leader of your organisation you need to be a good role model. Your staff look to you for direction and will emulate positive behaviour. You don't need to walk around with an inane grin on your face all day, but do react constructively when your staff bring you a problem. Set realistic goals for you and for your staff. Make sure that you have done the necessary preparation before you tackle a complex project.

There are many ways to define happiness. But most people agree that living a full and whole life goes a long way to achieving some sort of satisfaction. Be realistic. And try to make someone happy today - you'll be amazed by the positive vibe which it generates.

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