To be a happier, more successful person, get off the “hedonic treadmill”

To be a happier, more successful person, get off the “hedonic treadmill”

Most of us grow up being told that happiness and success come from achieving and accumulating more, more and more!

Our society tells us, often implicitly, that happiness and success will come to those who work towards being better, better and better.

But how’s that working for you?

What if, instead, we tried something different? What if, instead, we stopped running so hard and allowed ourselves to just be …

via Big Think by Rob Cross and Karen Dillon

By anyone’s standards, Charles is a high performer. After rising to top executive ranks at a much vaunted Silicon Valley company, he helped start another one and reached the top ranks there as well. But that’s not how Charles measures his own success. He has created a personalized Venn diagram for a meaningful life and his work is just one part of it. “It’s organized into three buckets,” he shared with us, “which are pursue passion, surround myself with people I love, and be grateful for the ride.”

Yes, the work he does matters, but the specifics of why it matters to him are important. “You have to commit yourself to purposeful work but it’s of no meaning if it’s not done in relationship with others,” he told us. “And if you’re not able to internally feel a sense of gratitude or appreciation for it or recognition of it, then that’s all for naught.”

We met Charles through our research on high performers, a project initially intended to better understand how certain people were able to be more effective at work, for a sustained period. We interviewed 300 people who had been designated as high performers by their organizations (an equal number of men and women, in organizations around the globe). One of the surprising insights of our research was how many of them were powder kegs of stress — without realizing it. We would be deep into our interview before they began to acknowledge that they were struggling to keep up with both work and their personal lives.

After decades of research, we were familiar with the kind of recognizable stress that high performers can endure to achieve their professional goals. But this was something completely different. What became clear as we talked is that it was never one big thing that led people to the feeling of being overwhelmed. Rather it was a relentless accumulation of unnoticed small stresses, in passing moments, that was so drastically affecting the well-being of these people who otherwise appeared to “have it all.” So we started to call this microstress.

Getting more material stuff makes you want more material stuff, what researchers call the hedonic treadmill.

But Charles is one of a handful of people we interviewed who seemed to manage and rise above microstress better than the rest of us — a group we began to call the “Ten Percenters.” One of the things the Ten Percenters have in common is their ability to find purpose in small moments in their work and personal lives. In a world where we are constantly bombarded by advertisements and social media influencers trying to convince us that happiness comes from material possessions and instant gratification, it is easy to lose sight of the importance of giving to others. But the Ten Percenters did not…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE