Being "Present" is Key to Business Success and Happiness

July 14, 2016

"If you look at the data, we get our creative bursts when our brain is in delta wave mode, when we are in a state of daydreaming," says Emma Seppälä, Science Director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University and a leading expert on health psychology, well-being, and resilience. She is also the author of "The Happiness Track."

She was recently a guest on the popular Radio Free Leader Podcast hosted by David Burkus, Associate Professor of Management at Oral Roberts University. "That's why we will get those burst of information right at those seemingly inconvenient times. When our brain is in those very deeply relaxed modes is when we are more likely to have those breakthrough moments."

A Real Pain Point

Seppälä says she wrote the book out of a "real pain point" that she sees with high achievers that were operating on the "misconception that in order to be successful they had to postpone or even sacrifice their happiness," causing 50% to burnout in the American workforce 70% to "disengage". "These kind of statistics are shocking to me," Seppälä said.

"If you look at the data‚Ķ if you take care of yourself and the people around you are actually going to be more charismatic and make better decisions, have more emotional intelligence, be more creative, more focused and more productive," said Seppälä. "There is a better way, you can be happy and get the things done that you need to."

Do Drive and Stress Go Together?

David Burkus pointed wondered if this is "unique to America or if it's unique across all countries and all cultures to the people who strive to be high achievers?" He said, "It seems like there is a tolerance to the idea that it's going to be stressful, it's going to be hard work, we have to stay focused and we have to prioritize that in order to achieve that level of success. In the United States we are the land of the 90 hour workweek. Many people buy into the idea that if you want to be successful you have to drive at all costs."

"We know that the US is driven by two things, the product at work ethic, which is this idea that you have to prove your worth in the eyes of God through your life's work," said Seppälä. "We're also influenced very much by the immigrant work culture. The ancestors of this country had to pull themselves up from their boot strap and had to work very hard. Those are two very influential factors that has turned the US into such an industrious and innovative place."

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