The ‘Secret’ of the Happiness Outcome

I turn into my street, and there’s a guy with a map under the streetlight.

Nice chap, mid 50s. I stop to give him directions, and we end up chatting.

Turns out, he’s a scientist who was on the team for one of the biggest scientific breakthroughs of the last 5 years. (this is a true story, but discretion prevents me from saying which breakthrough in particular. Anonymity etc).

And he’s not happy with the achievement. Far from it.

Instead, he’s confounded and rather lost.

He spent decades doing research, finally made the big discovery, and now… what?

What next?

What’s there in life now that he’s completed his life’s work?

This void-after-achievement is far more common than you think, and it’s easily avoided.

We think that the outcomes we work for are the things that will make us happy.

But the gold-medal athlete has no higher to go, while the bronze medalist made the grade, AND he gets to aim for higher. Yay!

Getting a promotion or a big client or getting married or becoming a parent: it’s all very wonderful, but it all brings another set of problems or consequences or obligations.

And we find time and time again that getting the wonderful outcomes somehow, oddly, doesn’t make us happy.

Improves things, sure – but weren’t they meant to make us happy?

Well no. Of course not.

YOU are meant to make yourself happy. There’s a lot of choice in there.

And when you are happy, or at least you’re in a good place mentally and emotionally, your efforts towards creating your desired outcomes become more fun, faster, and more effortless.

And it starts with you and your decisions.

Specifically, decisions around what objectives you give priority.

In making those decisions, it’s good to have an outcome in mind – in business, usually related to some number in terms of sales or revenue – but in order to create that outcome, your objective should be based on behaviour.

Because it’s your behaviour – how you show up to the task at hand – that determines the material outcome you get.

Don’t make ‘attainment’ your objective, but performance.

Not only will it prevent you from falling into a void, you’ll also find that the constant feedback of ‘I’m at it, keeping at it, checking off the tasks’ is a tremendous motivator. It makes you happy.

Because that’s the secret of the happiness outcome:

Happiness isn’t an outcome to aim for in the first place. Instead, it’s a tool to help you get an outcome.

Each time I see a client make that mental shift, magic starts to happen: business becomes more fun, more effortless, and yes: more profitable as well.

And I’ve got a whole bunch of simple&effective shifts like these up my sleeve.

Come and get some…

Cheers,

Martin


Also published on Medium.

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