Are happy people dumb?

I just read that phrase in a Harvard Business Review blog and was offended. Because I’m happy. And I’m not dumb. But, of course, it enticed me to read on.

The blogger, Shawn Achor, says,

These sentiments are not uncommon. I believe we have a cultural assumption that happy people are anti-intellectual, delusional, or shallow. We’ve all heard the saying that “ignorance is bliss.” But, in truth, society has a fundamental ignorance about bliss.

Here’s part of the problem. Everyone knows someone who is brilliant and unhappy. And everyone knows someone who is successful and not happy.

Sure. But do they go hand-in-hand? We all know money doesn’t buy happiness. Does this mean, now, that intellect doesn’t mean happiness, either?

My Vistage Chair has a theory: People are put on this earth to have relationships with children (not necessarily your own, or maybe he just tells me that to make me feel better), to have a relationship with some sort of higher being that drives your values and beliefs, and to live your passions. If you have all three, you will be happy.

Achor’s premise is similar. And no, you don’t have to be dumb.

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.

So the question I leave you today is this: What are you doing every day to increase your “silent 75%”? Let’s hear it!

P.S. Erica Allison, did you see “viewing stress as a challenge instead of a threat”? Aren’t you glad you gave up stress for Lent??

* Thanks to 909Sickle for the image

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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