INSIGHT: WHY HAPPINESS IS THE NEW PRODUCTIVITY
“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” – Buddha
Like the body’s immune system, the culture of a company exists whether we are active in nurturing it or not. And like an immune system, it can support us or it can become the problem; in culture terms, be empowering or toxic. Depending on how we treat it, it can kill us, we can limp along never quite reaching our potential or it can support our success.
In every case, culture is borne of the beliefs and values of the organisation … which result in the behaviours displayed. Vishen Lakhiani runs one of the most successful companies, Mindvalley.com and it’s many offshoots. He realised that he had strayed from his original beliefs and values – and his culture was not supporting his success. In this video, Vishen speaks to an audience in Calgary about how he started his company. How, when he was originally setting up in online marketing, he had a goal of being able to make enough to buy a Starbucks every day. Each day his coffee cup size got bigger. He added whipped cream. He added marshmallows. And he was enjoying himself. Then the company really started to grow. And he got all ‘serious’ about it. And one day he realised he was bogged down in bureaucracy, working all the hours. He realised that it was no longer fun. He yearned for the early days.
Ring any bells?
the turning point
Change came when attending a T. Harv Eker “Millionnaire Mind Intensive” seminar. Fan or not of T. Harv Eker’s style (we’re not), as a result of his experience, Vishen suddenly got it. His big turning point came when he realised it’s not about strategy, the marketing plan, having the best business plan or the best people. It’s about mindset. It’s about creating and sustaining a culture so that the behaviours that you want are maintained as you grow.
a state of flow
Vishen attributes his happiness and success to being in a state of flow.
‘Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energised focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterised by complete absorption in what one does.’ Mihály Csíkssentmihályi
We know how it feels when we are in that space. That’s when magic happens. But how do you put it into actionable words? Vishen believes it is the balance of two things:
- being happy in the now, right now
- having a positive vision of the future
His theory is that you are generally in one of four states:
- downward spiral – unhappy where you are now, with no vision of the future. Focused on being miserable. It just gets worse
- current reality trap – happy where you are right now, but no vision of the future. Not unhappy enough to do anything to change things. However, our two spiritual needs – to grow and contribute – are unfulfilled. Result – mediocrity and no fulfilment
- stress and anxiety – not happy right now but big visions of the future. A lot of people are here. You have terrific visions, but aren’t functioning with maximum impact because you’re unhappy
or the preferred state:
- flow – happy in the present, with grand visions of the future*
His equation is:
- thought (vision of the future) + emotion (current reality) = flow (attraction)
Vishen states that being in flow magnifies the impact of whatever you do. Notice when you’re in flow and when you’re not – your focus should be on bringing yourself back to flow. He calls the practice or discipline of keeping in flow ‘blissipline‘. He says, “Your passions are breadcrumbs that lead you on the path to your destiny.”
there ain’t no joy
Now passionate about flow, Vishen says, “We forget the importance of being in flow. Large chunks of humanity are trapped in careers they hate. Wake up dreading. If you do not enjoy what you do you cannot be in a state of joy. “Because of that you’re wasting your time. You can never magnify your impact but if your happiness isn’t there your impact is lost. If you are in a career or job or business and don’t enjoy it. Get out. Destroy your life to let the next big thing happen. Find out what you love. When you love what you do and you have big dreams, you have impact.”
so what real difference can it make?
Does it really make any real difference, apart from being happy? Well, this is what Vishen experienced:
- huge growth – his business exploded 400%
- work became fun – he had terrific employees, got to do team vacations and fun parties
- he started living a dream life – the business was generating money and he loved his life again
- he started getting dream clients
- he no longer had to fight to get the next client – they started flocking to his company
- his role changed – his role was now to say “no” to clients, potential employees and opportunities because he had so many
- he started getting great job applicants for roles. He stopped advertising. People started applying regardless
- and his company won awards
His biggest sales day was when he was passed out on the beach, miles away from the office. Sounds pretty good to us … and we know that amazing clients have sought us out when we’ve been in flow. So is it time to practice some blissipline in your life and your business?
Note: * Vishen also says you must be aware of the paradox of intention. You must have goals, but your happiness cannot be tied to those goals. You must be happy before your goals are achieved. Be happy in the now. Happiness comes from the journey, not the destination.