Happiness is a collective effort.
Years ago, Zig Ziglar said, “You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.” When he said it, it was probably a hunch or some nice thing to say. Recently, however, an author named Shawn Achor, in his new book Big Potential, proves it.
We have been led to believe that happiness, gratitude, motivation and even despair or depression are individual. Or in a sense, in our own control. But Big Potential’s research, thanks to the big data available now, has proven that happiness is a collective effort and directly affected by those around us. One of the research pieces asked people to climb a steep hill and at the bottom, to guess the gradient of the hill they were about to climb. People on their own guessed the gradient to be 20-25% worse than someone who had a close friend they were going to climb the hill with. The reason is not that we feel better because we have a supporter, but because we feel less burdened if we change the focus from “the weight of the problem is on my shoulders” to “how am I going to help that person achieve it”. The act of helping someone else through the same pain, drastically lowers our own perceived burden of that pain.
As a separate example, we are certain you all have friends/family that when you are around them they make you funnier, more relaxed, more enjoyable or more confident.
So, what does this mean? It means we all need to BE the people that make others feel better about themselves because it is proven to contribute towards eliminating our own stress/problems while heightening their ability to be more creative, productive and confident. As a result, you’ll act with more gratitude and actively lift others up, which further benefits YOU. The collective pursuit of a common success is now known to lift people out of stress and even depression and mostly, makes individuals happier, more content to live and work with a greater sense of gratitude.
We no longer have our own creativity, intelligence or happiness score. We are massively affected by those around us and because we ARE those people around others, we have much greater power than ever thought before in terms of driving the happiness, gratitude and success of our team and our work.