Happiness Advantage Principle #2
Happiness Advantage Principle #2 The Fulcrum and the lever
author: Shawn Achor; these are my notes to get a quicker read of the amazing book “The Happiness Advantage”
Changing your performance by changing your mindset. Our power to maximize our potential is based on two important things: (1) the length of our lever-how much potential power and possibility we believe we have, and (2) the position of our fulcrum-the mindset with which we generate the power to change. The more we move our fulcrum(or mindset), the more our lever lengthens and so the more power we generate. Move the fulcrum so that all the advantage goes to a negative mindset, and we never rise off the ground. Move the fulcrum to a positive mindset, and the lever’s power is magnified-ready to move everything up. Our external “reality” is far more malleable than many of us think, and far more dependent on the eyes through which we view it. With the right mindset, our power to dictate this reality-and in turn the results of our actions-increases exponentially. The Placebo effect comes into play here as well.
“Expectancy Theory”, the expectation of an event causes the same complex set of neurons to fire as though the event were actually taking place, triggering a cascade of events in the nervous system that leads to a whole host of real physical consequences. What this means is in the workplace is that beliefs can actually change concrete results of our efforts and our work. So, The mental construction of our daily activities, more than the activity itself, defines our reality.
The lever of possibility
Studies show that simply believing we can bring about positive change in our lives increases motivation and job performance; that success, in essence, becomes self-fulfilling prophesy.
So when faced with a difficult task or challenge, give yourself an immediate competitive advantage by focusing on all the reasons you will succeed, rather than fail. Remind yourself of the relevant skills you have, rather than those you lack. Think of a time you have been in a similar circumstance in the past and performed well.
More important still than believing in your own abilities is believing that you can improve these abilities. Beliefs are so powerful because they dictate our efforts and actions.
Using the fulcrum and lever to find your calling
We view our work as a Job, a Career, or a Calling. People with a “job” see work as a chore and their paycheck as the reward. People who view their work as a career, work not only out of necessity, but also to advance and succeed. Finally, people with a calling view work as an end in itself; their work is fulfilling not because of external rewards but because they feel it contributes to the greater good, draws on heir personal strengths, and gives them meaning and purpose. People with a calling orientation more likely generally are the ones to get ahead. The good news is you can tweak your mindset of your job into a calling focus.
We aren’t saving dolphins
What an executive told his employees. Here is what he had effectively said: “Saving the dolphins is meaningful and has a positive effect on the world. While the job you’re in provides no meaning and worth beyond making you a lot of money”. He had reminded everyone that they had jobs, not callings. The fastest way to disengage an employee is to tell him his work is meaningful only because of the paycheck. This is changing the fulcrum and lever around you. It is important as it can have both a positive or a negative effect depending on what was said. Many well-meaning managers shoot themselves in the foot when they remind those under them at work of their weaknesses. Conversely, as we’ve seen, when a manager openly expresses his faith in an employee’s skill, he doesn’t just improve mood and motivation; he actually improves their likelihood of succeeding.
The Pygmalion Effect
Pygmalion had a vision of his ideal, the zenith of all of his hopes and desires-a woman he named Galatea. One day he made a statue representing Galatea, representing every hope, every dream, every possibility, every meaning-beauty itself. He fell in love with the statue, with the possibility of his ideal coming to life. The Pygmalion Effect: when our belief in another person’s potential brings that potential to life. The expectations we have about our children, co-workers, and spouses. Whether or not they are ever voiced can make that expectation a reality.
Motivating a team with the Pygmalion effect
How to better motivate? Ask yourself these three questions every Monday:
(1) Do i believe that the intelligence and skills of my employees are not fixed, but can be improved with effort?
(2) Do i believe that my employees want to make that effort, just as they want to find meaning and fulfillment in their jobs?
(3) How am i conveying these beliefs in my daily words and actions?