Personal Excellence

Why do some individuals always try to do their best in a situation, while others don’t? At work, why do some people bemoan their work, and still do an outstanding job, while others seem happy with their work, and still produce mediocre results? In my experience, this can be traced to one of the important traits of an individual: desire to seek excellence in whatever they do.

Everyone wants to be best at what they do, but it is not always easy to do so. Those with a healthy dose of this trait will continue to pursue excellence even when given a boring assignment or challenging environment, while others will give up and settle for mediocrity. So why do some people pursue excellence? Vince Lombardi (great football coach) suggests, “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”. For Indian movie fans, Amir Khan character in 3 Idiots says, “seek excellence, success will follow” (more on 3 Idiots). Continue reading

Happiness and Career Success

It is obviously true that success will bring happiness, any kind of success will. However, is the reverse true – will happiness bring success? There is lots of research available that suggest that happiness indeed brings success. Here are a few references:

  1. Happiness brings success, not the other way round‘ (the paper) – Scientists reviewed 225 studies involving 275,000 people and found that chronically happy people are in general more successful in their personal and professional lives. Happy people are more likely than their less happy peers to have fulfilling marriages and relationships, high incomes, superior work performance, community involvement, robust health and even a long life.
  2. Happiness leads to Career Success‘ talks about the book (The Happiness Advantage) from Shawn Achor that suggest that when we are happy our brain works better and we end up working harder which then leads to success.
  3. People who are unhappy in life are unlikely to find satisfaction at work
  4. Wall Street Journal (‘Is Happiness Overrated’) distinguishes between ‘hedonic well-being’ (immediate pleasure) and ‘eudemonic well-being’ (long term sense of fulfillment) and suggests that latter type of happiness brings the benefits of happiness (health and longevity).
  5. Happiness Lengthens life‘ suggests that ‘Happiness does not heal, but happiness protects against falling ill. As a result, happy people live longer. The size of the effect on longevity is comparable to that of smoking or not’.

If this is true, why have I found so many unhappy people at workplace? Continue reading