Are Happy People Dumb? – Harvard Business Review

In psychological experiments, a “prime” causes a person to experience an emotion; then we see how that new state affects their performance. You can prime people to become more altruistic by giving them something small yourself. When you prime a four year old child to be happy — by asking them to think of their happiest memory — their spatial memory increases dramatically, allowing them to put blocks together up to 50% faster than children at neutral. Doctors primed to be positive come to the correct diagnosis 19% faster when primed to be positive as opposed to negative. Salespeople have 37% higher levels of sales when optimistic. In fact, a meta-analysis of employees at companies reveals that nearly every single business outcome improves when a brain is positive. Happiness is a significant advantage.

In fact, happiness is the single greatest competitive advantage in the modern economy. Only 25% of your job successes are predicted based upon intelligence and technical skills, though we spend most of our education and most companies hire based upon this category. The “silent 75%” of long-term job success is based upon your ability to positively adapt to the world: optimism, social support creation, and viewing stress as a challenge instead of as a threat.

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