Sunday, December 03, 2017

Before Happiness #5 : Positive Inception

In this last article on Shawn Achor's Before Happiness, we talk about scaling happiness.

This is also a very practical chapter and I think fresh law graduates should pay attention to this article as they are going to very possibly end up in a fairly negative workplace. There has always been reports that the depression rate amongst lawyers are one of the highest amongst all the professions. I remember visiting a fairly prominent legal outfit and one grizzled associate got us all into one room, and when none of her colleagues are within earshot, whispered to us :" You know all those horrible stories you have heard about this place ? It's all true. "

a) Scale your positivity

Managers might be able to create simple rules of thumbs to create a more energized workplace. The books proposes a really nifty 10/5 rule - When a customer is 10 feet away, achieve eye contact and smile. When a customer is 5 feet away and not engaged with anyone else, greet him.

I still find the courts rather intimidating, but I think I will try to smile every time I am there to do my traineeship.

I just hope that this will not be interpreted as a weakness.

b) Power Lead

The first loud mouth who talks is always perceived to be more credible.

This is why being an extrovert amongst mostly introverted financial bloggers is fun even though most of them are better investors and smarter than I am.

Be the first to lead a conversation and make sure that it always begins in positive territory. Start the conversation with a compliment to the other side and talk about something positive that have occurred in your life lately.

I think the second part will be a struggle in the Asian context because it might be misconstrued as bragging.

Still, do it anyway.

c) Create a shared narrative

Perhaps among ourselves as trainees and associates, it might be helpful to start thinking about the kind of help we are providing for our clients and what our advice means to them. We need to construct a story of why we do what we do. But I know myself to be of a fairly cynical bent and will find it hard to see beyond billable hours when I start work next year.

( For quite a while, I kept thinking that engineers exists to cut operational costs, so I think  the problem lies with me rather than the environment I work for. )

But the practical benefits of having a shared narrative are astronomical - Salespeople who find meaning in what they do can increase sales by 700% !

This principle can be used in reverse. I now believe that the grand mission of unbiased financial bloggers is to band together to put up truthful articles on the problems with ILP investing and shed light on unrealistic financial products because the finance industry has found to way to motivate their personnel through expensive motivational programs.

The psychological truth is compelling - An insurance salesperson who sells products just to earn a commission can harm society in small ways. A salesperson who is motivated to believe that his work is helping others and is meaningful in the grand scheme of things can do seven times more harm to society !

Thus, we need to have a shared narrative to disrupt the shared narrative of others !

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