Tag Archives: happiness

Leadership, Money & Happiness

Leadership, Money & Happiness

Leadership, Money & Happiness

Leadership, Money & Happiness

We’ve all heard the expression that money can’t buy your love.  I have a different take on that expression; money can’t buy you love, but neither can poverty.  I always thought that regardless of whether I was happy or sad, it was better to have a few of the comforts that money can provide.

I have witnessed first-hand individuals moving up the ladder, achieving higher and higher leadership roles.  Along with that came pay raises, therefor, more money.  While not everyone is this way, I have seen some try to use that money to bring them happiness.  One individual confided in me, right after he purchased a very expensive sports car, he thought it was pretty cool the first week or two, but in less than a month he was thinking about how he had wasted his money.  The car wasn’t making him happy.

Leadership, Money & HappinessDaniel Gilbert, Ph.D., a Harvard psychology professor and author of numerous books, wrote a paper published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology where he claims that if money isn’t making you happy, you’re not spending it right.  “Money is an opportunity for happiness, but it is an opportunity that people routinely squander because the things they think will make them happy often don’t.”  The study concluded that there are ways money can be used to boost well-being and life satisfaction.  First, money is best spent on experiences instead of material things.  Second, those who spend money on others experience greater happiness then spending on themselves.  Finally, spending money on numerous small pleasures increases happiness more than splurging on a few large ones.

Money can’t buy you love, but neither can poverty.  Money can boost happiness if used in a happiness boosting way.  This is important for leaders to know for themselves, but even more importantly, how they can pass this lesson along to others so they can buy a happiness boost instead of squandering their money AND their happiness.

Continue Reading

Regret, Disappointment & Leadership

Regret, Disappointment & Leadership

By Bill Auxier, Ph.D.

Several years ago I was having an ongoing conversation with a business owner about my purchasing his business.  It would have been a huge investment for me to coordinate with backers, but I thought it was a tremendous opportunity.  The owner verbally agreed to sell his business to me and I was very excited!  This was the big WIN I was looking for.  To this day, I still don’t totally understand what happened, but the deal never materialized.  I was disappointed for a long time.  I kicked myself for being unable to manage the deal to its conclusion.  I often second guessed my actions and the steps I had taken/not taken during the process.  I had regrets.

Regret is an emotion that raises its head when thinking about what could have been if we had done something differently.  Experience is a great teacher.  Making a mistake provides an experience that is an excellent teacher.  Whether we like it or not, our emotions like to emphasize our mistakes because they are such great learning opportunities.  Have you ever kicked yourself for making a mistake?  Research has concluded that the old saying “no pain, no gain” is true; the more painful a mistake is, the more memorable it is, the more it motivates us to change.  Regret also motivates us to fix any damage we may have created.  Personal responsibility and regret are closely linked.  Acknowledging regret to others may provide leadership by bringing people together.  Disclosing regrets can make you seem more vulnerable and more humble.

disappointment

Disappointment encourages us to give up or abandon a goal instead of persevering.  While regret emerges when the outcome is worse than if we had taken different action(s), disappointment emerges when the outcome is worse than expected along with a feeling of helplessness.  Disappointment can provide value by helping refocus our efforts away from a goal that is unachievable while also attracting support from others.  This can actually provide leadership by encouraging others to help us.

Psychologist Joshua Hicks and Laura King have concluded that regret is an emotion necessary for ego development.  Individuals who share regrets are more mature, have a greater tolerance for ambiguity, are more empathetic, more open to new experiences and have stronger relationships with others.  Regret may enable greater happiness, more fulfilling happiness, happiness that is more resilient, more complex.

So how about you?  What regrets do you have?  What experiences have you had that were a disappointment?  Have you learned from those experiences?  Have you shared any of those experiences, regrets or disappointments?  That’s what effective leaders do.

To subscribe to Bill’s newsletter visit BillAuxier.com.

Continue Reading

Great Leaders Give

Great Leaders Give

By Bill Auxier, Ph.D.

General Norman Schwarzkopf once said, “You can’t help someone get up a hill without getting closer to the top yourself.”  General Schwarzkopf knew what many great leaders know, that effective leadership is about giving to others, of serving others, of putting others first.  This is a leadership concept that has been around from quite some time, yet I still find it surprising how many leaders are more interested in the power of leadership.

Many leaders understand the law of reciprocity, the concept that by giving or serving first will help you get what you want.  Zig Ziegler (one of my heroes) said, “You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”  And while I appreciate the concept that Zig is promoting with that statement, it’s not always about getting what you want, it’s simply about giving.

giving

A few years ago, United Healthcare and VolunteerMatch teamed up to conduct a study on volunteering.  They surveyed 4,500 adults and here is what they found.  Forty-one percent of the respondents volunteered an average of 100 hours per year.  Of those, sixty-eight percent stated that volunteering made them feel physically healthier, eighty-nine percent said that it improved their sense of well-being or made them happier and seventy-three percent said that it reduced their level of stress.

Canadian Lara Aknin examined the emotional benefits of giving to a charity.  Lara and her team found that spending money on others or giving money to a charity provides a great happiness boost, particularly when giving fosters social connections.

As this year comes to a close and the holiday season is upon us, think about what you can give without thinking about what you will receive.  The greatest leaders are great givers.  How great of a leader are you?

Happy Holidays!

To subscribe to Bill’s newsletter, visit BillAuxier.com.

Continue Reading

Howdy Stranger!

Howdy Stranger!

By Bill Auxier, Ph.D.

Do you talk to strangers or do you follow your mother’s advice and never talk to strangers?  When you’re waiting to see your doctor or in line for your skinny latte at Starbucks, do you get annoyed if a stranger tries to strike up a conversation?  Worse yet, when you’re packed in like sardines on your flight home and the person pressed into your personal space in the next seat wants to talk, does that annoy you?  Do you try to avoid having a conversation?  If you want to be a more effective leader, you need to learn how to say “howdy stranger!”

A Harvard Business School study concluded that talking to strangers results in happiness similar to that of chatting with family and close friends.  Talking to strangers can also be a mood booster.  Researchers had predicted that only extroverts would experience improved happiness or a mood boost, but discovered instead that any personality type gets the happiness/mood bump.

Man&WomanTalking

So I did a little experiment.  Recently I was at a conference where everyone was on their own for lunch and the dining options were limited.  I ended up at a food stand where the line and the wait were both too long.  But instead of getting frustrated or stressed out, I started talking to the stranger in front of me.  To make a long story short, we ended up eating lunch together, engaged in one of the more interesting conversations I’ve had recently!  The former stranger, now person, I met was a true pioneer, the first minority to break barriers in a niche industry.  A sharing of the trials and tribulations of being a pioneer were both inspirational and troubling at the same time.  I thought the world had made more progress.  It was a conversation that had a big impact on me; it was definitely a mood booster, it made me happy that I could have such an engaging conversation with someone I didn’t know, and it made me think!  It was a conversation that normally I would have totally missed out on.

The next time you find yourself in a similar situation, standing or sitting by a stranger, try your own experiment.  You could start by simply saying, “howdy stranger!”

To subscribe to Bill’s newsletter visit BillAuxier.com.

 

Continue Reading