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Imagine that someone created a red pill that adds years to your life; it reduces the risk of having a heart attack or stroke; cuts your risk of Alzheimer's disease by more than fifty percent; helps you relax during the day and sleep better at night; it doubles your chances of staying drug and alcohol free after treatment; activates your natural killer cells; diminishes your inflammatory cells; increase your good cholesterol (HDL); and it repairs your DNA.

What if this imaginary red pill reduced hospitalisation so much that it put a big dent in the national health crisis?

Oh, and as a special bonus, it gives you better sex.

The company that made that red pill would be worth gazillions right? The red pill's inventors would win Nobel Prizes and have institutes named for them.

But it's not a red pill. It's purpose. And it's free.

give_red_blue_pill_choice_1600_clr_15013.pngAnd you get side effects. More friends. Greater happiness. Deeper engagement in life. And better sex.

Now imagine a blue pill that makes your work almost effortless, yet simultaneously fulfilling. Every moment at work you are in the zone. You're flowing and your performance is so good, and your productivity increases and you are more engaged with your work and with your colleagues.

The company who made that blue pill would be worth even more gazillions and businesses would be clamouring for their workers to take this magnificent drug so they could profit even more and keep staff happily employed and engaged for years to come at higher wages with shorter working hours and greater productivity.

Well, those blue pills would be flying off the shelves faster than a speeding bullet.

But it's not a blue pill. It's leveraging your talent. And it's also free.

Now, what if you take both the red pill and the blue pill?

What if you were joyful at work, found deep pleasure in doing what you do and it felt effortless and your job was meaningful for you?

I've worked with so many people who want this to be true for them. I'm certain that you do too.

And there is a way that you can have this. But I must warn you. This is not a magic trick for instant success, nor a silver bullet that will instantly make everything bad disappear.

Some things will appear to be magical but they're actually social cognitive neuroscience. Some things are going to turn your world on its head.

It will take you some time and effort. So if you don't like taking on things that take time and effort you should turn back now before you get a glimpse of the potential joy you could be having at work.


What do you want out of life?

You want to be happy right?

Of course, you do. Ask anyone what they want in life and the vast majority will reply that they want to be happy.

They want their partner to be happy. They want their kids to be happy. They want their entire family to be happy.

Ask them if they are happy at work, and you'll be met with a kind smirk as if you had lost your marbles. Ask them if they experience joy at work and they'll laugh at the absurdity of the idea.

Yet a 2015 study shows that happy staff are 12% more productive than unhappy staff. And happiness has an even greater impact on sales – raising sales by 37%!

We've known this for years! Centuries even! So every organisation everywhere has implemented fantastic training and coaching to make sure that their staff are all happy.

Joe x3 tired treadmill1.jpgThis is immediately evident as you walk into almost any workplace in any country. How everyone is smiling, laughing, being friendly, helpful, cooperating. How their so joyful its contagious you cannot help but smile and wish earnestly that you could join that organisation and get paid handsomely for having fun and enjoying every day.

When you take both the red pill and the blue pill, you'll be well on your way to having deep and lasting joy @ work.

In the Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor's research shows that an individual's job success is 25% predicted by IQ. Meanwhile, 75% is predicted by your optimism levels, your social support and your ability to see stress as a challenge instead of a threat. That is: your success is largely dependent on your happiness

Conventional “wisdom” holds that if we work hard, we will be more successful. And, if we are more successful, then we'll be happy.

This is broken and backwards!

The problem is two-fold:

  1. When you achieve (i.e. your brain has a) success you just change the goalpost of what success looks like. Now success is beyond and you never achieve it. So if happiness is based on success and you never achieve success you cannot achieve happiness.
  2. Secondly, by raising a brains positivity in the present, they gain a happiness advantage and the brain performs significantly better than at negative, neutral or stressed. Intelligence rises, creativity rises, energy levels rise and every single business outcome improves: Increased 31% productivity, greater resilience, less burnout, less staff turnover, 37% greater sales (Lyubominirsky, 2005)

Thus, if we can get our brains to be more positive in the present (happy), then we will be more successful because we are able to work faster, harder and more intelligently.

When our brains are thinking positively, dopamine is released which makes you feel happier and turns on all the learning centres of your brain, and turns on your motivational circuits allowing you to adapt to the world in a creative way.

But being happy isn't enough!

Being happy isn't the only ingredient to a life well lived.

When I spent several days recovering in hospital from a quadruple bypass, I spoke with many other patients who had had similarly close calls to meet their maker. Two things became abundantly clear:

  1. Those with a positive and grateful attitude recovered more rapidly and were discharged sooner.
  2. The closer someone had been to death, the more determined they were to live a life filled with meaning.

Why this matters to your organisation

The statistics on workplace engagement are grim to say the least. Depending on the survey you read, anywhere between a whopping 70% of employees in America do not feel engaged at work. Around the world, that increases to 87% who are not engaged. In Singapore alone, a Gallup survey has 77% of employees are unengaged and 6% are actively disengaged.

Going beyond engagement

The Energy Project undertook a survey with Harvard Business School and found that employees who derive meaning and significance from their work were more than three times as likely to stay and reported 1.7 times higher job satisfaction and were 1.4 times more engaged at work.

Increasing a sense of meaningfulness at work is one of the most potent – and underutilised – ways to increase productivity, engagement and performance.

What if employees were happy AND derived significance and meaning from their work? Wouldn't that be Joy at work?


What brings joy in the workplace?


filling_pill_bottle_22052.pngWhen you take both the red pill and the blue pill, you'll be well on your way to having deep and lasting joy @ work.

Check out this episode!

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