Move Over IQ & EQ, How the Science of Happiness is the Next Evolution

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In today’s high-velocity, time-crunched world, the ability to be resilient, reduce stress and maintain a positive mindset is no longer an option.  It is a necessary part of our life toolkit. 


Leaders are looking for that next best practice, that point of leverage, that way to meet the demands they face with the impact they desire. Be it leading teams, organizations, or their own lives in a high-performing way, I speak to leaders every day that are asking – “What attributes should I be developing?  What will give me the edge and the energy to be, or remain, one step ahead?”


First the edge came with IQ, a psychological measure for “smarts”, and the domination of the role our brains and minds play in a world focused on skills and productivity.


Then came EQ, or Emotional Intelligence, and people took notice as we discovered that the attributes of EQ are what we truly care about and are moved by. EQ is the capacity to understand people, motivate them and bring out their best…especially under pressure.


At DH, we’ve run hundreds of leaders through an exercise where they come face-to-face with the leadership qualities that most influence, motivate, and bring meaning to them. Ninety-eight percent of the time, they are attributes of Emotional Intelligence.  This tells us that we admire EQ over IQ.   


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Enter, the Science of Happiness.  


Experts at the Berkeley Greater Good Science Center and professors at the UPenn’s Positive Psychology department like Martin Seligman provide undeniable research that proves our next frontier after EQ lies in the Science of Happiness attributes like Positivity, Resilience, Purpose, and Empathy.  


The Science of Happiness focuses on defining and highlighting these next level attributes that lead to our highest potential to succeed, grow and be happy or fulfilled. 

Here are 4 fundamentals of the Science of Happiness to consider:  


1. The ability to “Lean Positive” – This ability to reframe challenging situations, focus and build on strengths and cultivate optimism is proven to be a key to greater success at work and in life.  


Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology, teaches the fundamentals of Learned Optimism as a skill that can be developed to broaden options and help us to optimize any circumstance.

2. The art of Resilience is the ability to develop strategies for embracing change and recovering from setbacks more quickly.  


Resilience can be cultivated through an ever-expanding blend of habits like Gratitude, Connected Communication, Compassion, Presence/ Mindfulness and Authenticity [from living in alignment with our values]. When these habits and values result in a high, overall well-being, engaged employees become 45% more adaptable to change.  


MAR_SF_Agile_JennIG33. Purpose & Meaning! It is undeniable that tapping into our WHY, discovering the meaning of our day to day activities [at work and at home], and the purpose that beats inside our hearts elevates the experience of our lives and galvanizes us towards focused results more than anything else.


In Harvard Business Review study, employees inspired by purpose and a sense of WHY generated at least 2x more output than disengaged employees. The role of higher purpose at work and in our lives is critical as it feeds our resilience and sustainable happiness.


When an organization has found its WHY or higher purpose, their employees can find meaning in their work and are encouraged to pursue their own personal purpose in alignment with the organization’s.


4. Empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of another, responding with compassion is more than a gift.  


Some studies tout this as the greatest need for the successful survival of our communities and corporations in the future [and is key in establishing connectedness].  Kindness, generosity, and empathy are considered key drivers of future leaders and organizations as more people demand a happier experience in the workplace for themselves and their customers.


Discover how you can use these attributes to create a happier organization for happier employees and client experiences:


About the Author

Shereen Eltobgy

Shereen is passionate about people being free to be their true self and to realize their highest potential. She uses her expertise in the science of happiness & culture development to create high-performing, purpose-driven workplaces where individuals and organizations flourish.


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