Habits and Happiness 16: Bringing Happiness to Book

Happiness research is treated in two ways. Its either seen as Pollyanna-ish drivel designed to lull us into a stupor of acceptance towards our crap working lives, or its seen as a vaguely helpful decidedly fluffy intervention which might give HR a bad name. Sometime that's because the research its based on is a bit vague and indistinct. The ability to discover and cultivate the skills of happiness originated in the positive psychology movement promoted by people like Martin Seligman and Daniel Gilbert. http://tinyurl.com/38bes4o It’s a key soft skill and it builds capabilities like resilience, optimism and engagement. Sometimes though its advanced  in such a stepfordesque way as to be genuinely dumb . Barbara Ehrenreich took on the more ludicorous apostles of what I and others call unthinking happiness in her book Smile or Die.

 So I was well happy to find out that there is a new book on happiness by Jessica Pryce- Jones which is both rigorous and relevant. http://tinyurl.com/37ndyzr The book covers all the dimensions of happiness and importantly give a robust statistical identification of the "factors" which drive happiness at work. They are related to a number of variables and I won’t steal Jessica’s thunder by revealing all, she’ll do that at ACE conference in Manchester between 9th November and I will be chairing the seeion again.

Happiness as a subject when properly communicated is genuinely compelling  . Witness Nick Bayliss’s session at Manchester last year. I said at the time it was ironic for me chairing a session on happiness in Manchester. It’s main exports like the Smiths, Joy division lots of rain, and Coronation street don’t normally inspire happiness. In my view Soft skills or what we are calling in our new project "Using the Head and Heart at Work" are the missing dimension to both engagement and performance. Working with Professor Eugene Sadler-Smith at the University of Surrey, I want to look at how skills such as empathy, resilience, motivation etc come together to help people perform. Eugene’s previous work on intuition will I am sure feature as will happiness. I think it’s a compelling agenda and I as you will know if you’ve met me I  no gushing Pollyanna. We’ve all tried being miserable at work and in life so let’s try something else.

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