Finding happiness & success in your greatest critics

Finding happiness & success in your greatest critics

Positive Psychology has shown us that happiness & success come from focusing on strengths and positives.

Attending to what’s going well is indubitably, a path to positive emotion and achievement.

But can happiness also come from learning about what others think we’re not doing well? According to this article, the answer’s a definite “yes”…

via Fulfilment Daily by Adam Grant 

The Challenge: It can be hard to ask for help and also to get the right kind of help.

The Science: If you seek out experts who don’t share your opinion, you can be more innovative.

The Solution: Don’t be afraid to ask for help especially from those who think differently from you!

Several decades ago, a team of experts built the world’s most expensive mirror. It was for the Hubble Space Telescope, and the mirror was the key to focusing light that predated the stars, capturing images that had never been seen by human eyes. The precision was measured in millionths of an inch. If the mirror’s surface were the size of the Atlantic Ocean, the surface would need to be so smooth that no wave would be taller than three inches.

When the telescope launched in 1990, the images came back blurry. The mirror was the wrong shape by 2 percent of the width of a human hair. It couldn’t focus light with the required precision. The telescope was only able to do about half of the work that it was launched to do, and in 1993, NASA burned several hundred million dollars on a repair mission.

What went wrong? When journalists Robert Capers and Eric Lipton investigated, they discovered that the team of designers, engineers, and technicians at Perkin-Elmer resisted help from experts. When initial tests of the mirror pointed to potential problems, the engineers refused an independent test. To safeguard against errors, the company appointed a former chief scientist, Roderic Scott, as a consultant and adviser. Scott was a world-class optical designer with an astronomy doctorate from Harvard, but the team refused to seek his support and follow his guidance. As Capers and Lipton put it, “Whenever Scott knocked on the door of the polishing room, the technicians… would say, ‘Hey, Rod is out there. Don’t let him in. Turn up the radio.’”

What would prevent the team from seeking and accepting help? Research by Fiona Lee, a psychologist at the University of Michigan, documents pervasive fears of help-seeking in organizations. People worry that if they ask for help, they’ll appear incompetent, vulnerable, dependent, or helpless.

But does seeking help actually carry these costs? In a study led by psychologist Arie Nadler, employees at a chemical plant reported how often they sought help from coworkers and supervisors. When Nadler’s team collected supervisors’ performance evaluations of each employee, it turned out that the best performers were those who sought the most help from experts. By asking for help, employees were able to develop their knowledge and skills, which enabled them to do better work.

However, performance was only optimized when employees sought help from experts. Surprisingly, many employees went to non-experts, and the more often they did so, the worse they performed…

…keep reading the full & original article HERE