Here at HFB – Perth we are big on goals, meeting our targets and exploiting all of the hipster cafes in Perth to figure out how to do so – because nothing says productivity like coffee, desserts and all day breakfasts. Our team has been gearing up for some hard work in 2016, so it was perfect stumbling upon The Happy Secret to Better Work by Shawn Achor.
Full of gems regarding positivity, happiness, success and work, I wanted to share a few of my own thoughts about these concepts and how they have related to my work with the Halal Food Bank – Perth.
I’ll be the first to say that I am incredibly proud of our team and what we achieved in 2015, but it was something else to hear someone outside the team comment on how the project has grown and all the exposure it has attained over the course of one year. However, on the flipside of this, I’ve also had friends comment that we all put in too much time and effort into something we’re not being paid for.
And I get it – I’ve heard it all since getting involved – but one thing that I’ve been trying to explain over and over is that this project and these people are what make me happy.
Achor, in his talk, discusses happiness within the context of success, commenting on the widely accepted notion that once we’ve succeeded, then we will attain happiness. Flawed is this idea, he notes, as “we’ve pushed happiness over the cognitive horizon” meaning that “if happiness is on the opposite side of success, your brain never gets there”.
I’ve been thrilled when our work has finally paid off and we’ve reached our goals, but if I’m being honest, arriving at our destination has never been the source of overwhelming happiness for me, as that flawed formula suggests it should have been.
Rather, I found happiness on the road to these goals.
I found happiness in the challenges posed by our outlandish goals; I found happiness in the arduous work, meetings and literal heavy lifting; I found happiness in the driving and long nights and early mornings – I have found happiness in the hard work rather than that final moment in which we “attained success”. This happiness has inspired me into productivity, into wanting to work harder.
“Reversing the formula for happiness,” as Achor says, “is the key to ripples of positivity and a real revolution.”
And with where this team is headed, that just screams 2016 to me.
You can watch Shawn Achor’s full and hilarious Ted Talk here.