Did you know that the most popular course at Harvard Business School today is entitled "Happiness"?
Tal Ben Shahar, who heads up the department and his team have done extensive research concerning the criteria and mindset related to business success.
What is certain is that knowledge, skills and sophisticated strategies may bear little relationship to success, unless non cognitive attributes relating to personal fulfillment and happiness have been developed.
"People who feel good about themselves produce good results", was a statement by Ken Blanchard from the One Minute Manager. Yet our focus has traditionally been on the good results, not recognising external organizational factors and the development of internal characteristics which are directly related to overall success.
Such organizational criteria include an internal morale and support system, the importance of recognition, excellent communication, less hierarchical structures, room for mistakes and a spirit of innovation.
On a personal level the skills include: Intrapersonal i.e. awareness of feelings, identifying triggers and management of emotion, assertiveness, confidence, self esteem, self actualization and responsibility. Interpersonal, the ability to form meaningful, long lasting and intimate relationships, emotional literacy, empathy and the creation of rapport. Flexibility and adaptability, the ability to think laterally to bounce back, tolerance, embracing diversity and risk taking. Stress management, soothing oneself, delaying immediate gratification for a long term goal, prioritizing and maintaining perspective. Mood, including happiness and optimism. The ability to have fun, to enjoy life and to cultivate an optimistic world view, even in the face of adversity.
Importantly, these skills and attributes unlike "IQ" which tends to be static, can be learnt and developed especially, through focusing on life's lessons as we navigate our journey through our life cycle and are forced to deal with predictable and non predictable life events.
Our challenge is to identify the lessons, become our own personal alchemists and not let suffering go to waste.