Can happiness lead to success?


What if everything we've learned about success leading to happiness is backwards? Studies show that happy people are up to 30% more productive. These positive people also suffer from less burnout, and take fewer sick days. What if happiness directly leads to our success and not the other way around? This is becoming a hot topic of research at business schools. Raj Raghunathan is an associate professor at the University of Texas McCombs School of Business and writes the Sapient Nature blog for Psychology Today. I heard him speak at the UT Libraries a couple weeks ago and was intrigued by this idea. So many people define success as overcoming obstacles and reaching goals. But what happens then? We move the finish line. We set more challenges and goals. So that means we put happiness just out of our reach or at the next goal. Can we redefine happiness, and therefore success?

Shawn Achor author of The Happiness Advantage and former teaching fellow at Harvard University is also researching in this field. He explains that we get in a negative mindset and will always look for the negative. Can we change our viewpoint? What about the negative nellies? Is being a pessimist genetic? Achor says it is possible to change the way we think and become more positive. Raghunathan also believes we can get happy-smart and make happiness a priority.

What can you do to become more positive?

  • Be grateful - for 21 days write down 3 things you are grateful for and why
  • Exercise - get those endorphins flowing
  • Stop multitasking - focus and learn to meditate (even for just 2 minutes a day)
  • Think of others - volunteer or praise/thank just one person each day

The research shows that happiness is actually contagious. So theoretically as a manager or team member, you could spread positivity to your colleagues and help them become more productive and successful.

IDC Tech Talk: IT Productivity


In this IDC Tech Talk Bob Parker, Group Vice President, Manufacturing & Retail Insights, discusses IT Productivity in the Manufacturing and Retail Industry. Reviews of IT spending data collected over the last 10 years make it look like IT spending has been taking cuts, but as Bob points out it's really only that IT spending has not been growing as fast as revenue because IT departments can now do more with less.  What investments in IT allowed  for that increase in productivity?  The big three are, virtualization, business intelligence, and longer refresh rates on hardware. What does the future look like? Bob thinks more IT productivity is yet to be gained with cloud computing, integrated decision environments, and smart devices (mobility). For a look at all 6 factors that drove IT productivity over the last 10 years, and the 6 factors could drive more IT productivity over the next years, check out the IT Cost Challenge for the Coming Decade.